Malala Fund has trained 40 young Nigerian women in skills for impact-driven advocacy for the girl child.

With the goal of enhancing girls’ advocacy capacity on socio-cultural issues affecting girls in Nigeria, the international nonprofit organised the training – a three-day intensive workshop – in commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child.

Observed every 11 October, the International Day of the Girl Child is a global observance declared by the United Nations to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

The workshop, with the theme, ‘Advocating for Safer Schools for Girls’, featured crash courses in creative writing, storytelling, media campaigning, social influencing, and school safety.

A key moment of the workshop was the creation and presentation of the girls’ safe school declaration by the participants to Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and other government officials.

Development Diaries understands that the girls’-led declaration contains concerns and demand for safer schools for girls across Nigeria.

Responding to the girls’ demand, Osinbajo reiterated the government’s commitment to delivering free, safe, and quality basic education for the girl child, according to a Malala Fund statement to Development Diaries.

‘Government is here to support the girl child in every way it can. Covid-19 reinforced many gaps in education and made it difficult for many children, especially girls, to access health care and education’, Osinbajo, represented by the Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri, said.

‘The drop in income for most families around the world will mean that families making choices will almost make choices that will not favour the girl child’.

Girls are almost two and a half times more likely to be out of primary school if they live in conflict-affected areas and nearly 90 percent more likely to be out of secondary school than their counterparts in areas not affected by conflict, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

‘Empowering girls to learn and lead is at the core of our work’, Malala Fund Country Representative, Crystal Ikanih-Musa, said at the opening session of the workshop.

‘We believe that when girls learn, they thrive and communities develop. This is why we have organised this workshop to interact with girl advocates, hear their concerns and amplify their voices as well as upskill them to do more for their communities’.

Speaking on the rise in school attacks and student kidnappings in Nigeria, a Malala Fellow, Tamilore Omojola, noted that millions of girls have no access to safe and quality education due to school closures cum insecurity.

She urged the Nigerian government to intensify its effort in the implementation of the Safe School Declaration as ratified in 2019.

The Safe School Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment, launched in 2015, to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effects of armed conflict.

Photo source: Malala Fund

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