High Level Women Advocacy (HILWA) has urged stakeholders in Katsina State, northwest Nigeria, to intensify their efforts in reducing the number of girls that drop out of school in the state.
The population of out-of-school children in the country is 13.2 million, the highest in the world, according to a survey conducted by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Statistics from the UN agency show that 69 percent of these children are in Nigeria’s northern region, and 60 percent of them are girls.
‘We know the challenges facing the girl-child in terms of pursuance of western education among others in Katsina State’, Chairperson of HILWA, Mariya Abdullahi, told newsmen in Katsina.
‘I can assure you that following our advocacy visits to political and religious leaders, emirs and relevant stakeholders, the enrolment of the girl-child in schools has been very encouraging.
‘We are, however, trying to ensure that no girl is given out for marriage, until she, at least, finishes secondary school.
‘HILWA is also making efforts to ensure that the girl-child is empowered and given all rights due to her’.
HILWA had introduced ‘Girls For Girls’ (G For G) project with a view to solving the problem.
The ‘G For G’ was purely a women affairs project designed to ‘cajole’ girls to schools, sometimes with a gift or incentives, by women civil servants to make sure girls are enrolled and retained in schools.
The NGO also introduced the ‘He or She’ programme, which was about the mobilisation of schoolboys to encourage girls to receive education.
Photo source: UN Women