By Usman Ibn A. Lapai Kaduna
Kaduna state government has reaffi rmed its readiness to provide adequate fi nances and other logistics support for the promotion of girlchild education in the state. Th e Director, Development Aid Coordination and Planning, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Phoebe Yayi, who gave the assurance in Kaduna, expressed optimism that educating the girl-child would check maternal deaths. Yayi stated this yesterday at the opening of the United Nations Fund for Population Agency (UNFPA) Mid-year Review Meeting and Financial Management Orientation.
She said the state would continue to provide the needed support to ensure that parents enrolled and retained their wards in schools, and expressed the state’s readiness to partner with the Fund to enhance skills development among youths.
According to her, the skills development will fast-track economic growth and self-reliance. She said the Kaduna government would continue to invest in its youths, especially the girls, stressing that poverty and teenage pregnancies would be eradicated if the youths were educated. Yayi commended UNFPA’s partnership with the states in the Northern region that had facilitated awareness among parents on the need to enroll and retain adolescent girls in schools beyond the primary level.
She said the state government had paid N120 million as counterpart fund for family planning and child spacing programmes of UNFPA, and lauded UNPFA for providing N480 million to sensitise parents and women on the use of contraceptives for child spacing.
Yayi recalled that the state government, in 2016, appropriated N100 million for the same programme with the agency providing N400 million. Earlier, UNFPA programme manager, Mrs. Mariana Darboe, had said the meeting was convened to review the progress so far made in the area of implementation, between January and June, 2017. Darboe said the review would assist the agency to identify key challenges, best practices as well as the success stories that could be replicated to improve service delivery in the second half of the year.
According to her, the review will also improve knowledge of participants on UNFPA programme and fi nancial management. She said the agency’s education and skills acquisition programmes were key to eradicating poverty and underage marriage among girls. “`We are investing in adolescent girls to enable them build healthier homes, reduce maternal deaths and maximise opportunities toward enhanced economic growth and development,” she said. Offi cials from Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Gombe states are participating in the three-day review programme.