UNFPA partners states to boost girls enrolment in school
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said on Friday that it would scale-up its partnership with states and development partners to increase the level of girl-child enrolment in schools in Kaduna, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She said that the aim was not only to encourage enrolment but also keep the girl-child in school.
According to her, only 1.6 per cent of girls in Sokoto state have completed secondary school education, with 78.5 per cent of girls in the state having no formal education.
“In Kebbi, 2.3 per cent of the girls completed secondary education while 75 per cent of the girls in that state have no formal education.
“In Kaduna state, 11.4 per cent of the girls completed secondary education while 40.3 per cent of the girls in the state have no formal education,’’ she said.
She explained that the situation necessitated UNFPA to evolve the Adolescent Girl Initiative (AGI) in Northern Nigeria, aimed at addressing the challenges.
According to her, AGI is an initiative where girls are enrolled from primary to secondary school and financially supported to stay in school and also empowered beyond the classroom.
“The girls are enrolled in the UNFPA safe spaces where they are supported with extra literacy classes, vocational skills, reproductive and child health information.’’
The country representative said the extra classes were meant to ensure that the girls were better prepared and empowered to ultimately perform well in school and in their adult lives.
She noted that there was a strong and positive relationship between access to formal education and healthier reproductive behaviours among girls.
“Six years or more of schooling is strongly associated with delayed marriage, improved use of health services and contraceptive use.
“This is because when they go through the programme, it would lead to reduction in maternal mortality, because they will value institutions at delivery,’’ she said.
Ndhlovu added that the initiative would also help the girls value family planning and related processes that would make them have quality lifestyles and become strong human beings.
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