The World Bank has approved a $500 million credit for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) programme across seven Nigerian states, to help improve secondary school education opportunities among girls.

Development Diaries understands that the project will support access to secondary school education and empowerment for adolescent girls.

The bank, according to an issued statement, stated that adolescent girls face many challenges when it comes to accessing and completing secondary education.

‘Poor condition of infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities make it difficult for girls to stay in school’, the statement read.

‘In addition, close to 80 percent of poor households are in the north, which makes it very challenging for them to cover the direct and indirect costs of schooling.

‘All these factors have contributed towards limiting the number of girls that have access to secondary school.

‘If nothing is done, 1.3 million girls out of the 1.85 million who began primary school in 2017/2018 in the northern states will drop out before reaching the last year of junior secondary school’.

According to the bank, the AGILE project will use the secondary school as a platform to empower girls through education, life skills, health education (such as nutrition, reproductive health) gender-based violence awareness and prevention, negotiations skills, self-agency and digital literacy skills.

The bank has set a benchmark of six million girls and boys to benefit from the programme.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, ‘There is no better investment to accelerate Nigeria’s human capital development than to significantly boost girls’ education.

‘The AGILE project will enable Nigeria to make progress in improving access and quality of education for girls, especially in northern Nigeria.

‘Addressing the key structural impediments in a comprehensive way will create the enabling environment to help Nigeria ensure better outcomes for girls, which will translate into their ability to contribute to productivity and better economic outcomes for themselves and the country’.

The AGILE project covers the building of 5,500 junior secondary schools and 3,300 senior secondary school classrooms, as well as the improvement of 2,786 junior secondary and 1,914 senior secondary schools.

The project also aims to help girls thrive in the digital economy as 300,000 girls will receive digital literacy training.

Source: THISDAY

Photo source: ViktorDobai

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