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MAYEIN, SGAI want equal education opportunities for girls

By Tobi Awodipe (Lagos) and Moyosore Salami (Ibadan)
12 October 2023   |   3:21 am
Champions of youth development, under the aegis of Mentoring Assistance for Youths and Entrepreneurs Initiative (MAYEIN), yesterday, urged the Oyo State Government and relevant stakeholders to enhance educational opportunities and equality among schoolgirls.

Champions of youth development, under the aegis of Mentoring Assistance for Youths and Entrepreneurs Initiative (MAYEIN), yesterday, urged the Oyo State Government and relevant stakeholders to enhance educational opportunities and equality among schoolgirls.

The appeal was made during the second edition of the Oyo State School Girls Assembly, where 100 schoolgirls were selected to address some decision-makers.

Similarly, a civil society organisation, focused on inclusive governance and advocacy against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative, (SGAI), yesterday, called on governments at all levels to uphold and protect the rights of the Nigerian girl child.

Speaking with The Guardian at the commemoration of the international Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) held yesterday, the Executive Director of SGAI, Mufuliat Fijabi, stressed that investing in the girl child’s well-being, growth and development is a strategic value to the leadership and well-being of not just Nigeria but also the whole world.

She added that no nation could make any meaningful progress without deliberately protecting and upholding the rights of the girl child and investing in her total well-being, especially protection from SGBV and ensuring her education.

She said this year’s theme, “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being,” is particularly important in light of incidences and violent crimes committed against girl children in Nigeria.

She said the day was significant because it serves as another call to action to remind Nigerians of their obligations towards girls, saying: “Girls’ education strengthens economies and reduces inequality.

At the Ibadan event, the Founder and Executive Director of the MAIYEN, Edem Ossai, said the event was aimed at tackling educational challenges faced by girls.

Among the challenges discussed were the escalating cost of education, which is creating financial strain for numerous families.

Ossai noted that the situation has been making it difficult for many parents to afford transportation, school and supplies for their wards, especially girl children, which according to her, often result in a higher rate of girls dropping out of schools.

She said there has been an alarming increase in gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, HIV transmission linked to sexual and gender-based violence, rape, and human trafficking, all of which have detrimental impacts on girls education.

Ossai added that the MAYEIN initiative is advocating the recruitment of teachers that specialise in STEM subjects, which include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to provide a more profound understanding of these fields to the students.

She urged the Oyo State Government to address the pressing issues and advised parents, community leaders, to ensure higher values for girls. Even amidst poverty, it’s crucial to avoid expressing preferences for sons over daughters, as such biases can result in unequal opportunities.

In her keynote address, Princess Ojo-Opeyemi, representing Oyo State Head of Service, Olubunmi Oni, stressed the importance of allowing girls to play significant roles and make meaningful contributions to society.

There was a panel discussion with educators and social workers. The session focused on how challenges facing the girl child can be resolved.

Schools present at the event were Bodija International School, Ikolaba Community High School, among others.

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