The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with High Level Women Advocates (HiLWA) has advocated for more enrollment of the girl-child in schools in northern Nigeria.
Education Specialist, UNICEF, Abuja, Mrs Azuka Mentiki, stated this during the opening ceremony of the 3-Day National Capacity Building and Advocacy Meeting of HiLWA in Minna Wednesday.
She said that the forum would come up with possible ways on how to increase girls’ enrollment in schools.
HiLWA is one of the critical pressure groups in northern states that has made positive impact in the education sector at the state and community levels.
Mentiki explained that the initiative was under the Girl-Child Education Programme implemented by UNICEF and funded by British government.
“It is a meeting of high-level women advocates in northern Nigeria brought together by UNICEF to support and serve as mentors to girls in northern part of the country.
“UNICEF vision for its intervention is to ensure that every girl in northern Nigeria have access to right to education, get enrolled and remained in school,” she said.
She explained that the advocates were influential and high level women who were respected and had attained highest level in their career in northern Nigeria.
She added that the women were selected from 14 states of the northern part of the country to share ideas and experiences and serve as role models to the girl-child.
Also, Hajiya Hassan Adamu, president of HiLWA in Niger, explained that the mandate of HiLWA was to advocate and sensitise on the importance of girl-child education in order to increase girl enrollment and retention in school.
She disclosed that the women had embarked on advocacy visits to the eight emirates councils, met with the governor and members of the state house of assembly to come up with ways that would improve girl enrollment in schools.
“We visited the rural areas to use ourselves as role models to the people and the girls to know the importance of education and to ensure that every girl enrolled in school must remained and complete her education,” she said.
In her remarks, wife of Niger state governor and chairperson of Northern Governor’s Wives, Dr Amina Bello, decried the stereotypes of how northern women were always being addressed as “uneducated”.
She noted that the high rate of maternal mortality in the north was a result of lack of education among women and commended HiLWA for the initiative.
Bello added that the initiative would impact positively as well as increase the number of girl-child in northern schools.
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