UNICEF initiative triggers girl-child school enrolment in Niger

Children receiving lesson at a home-based class during the COVID-19 lock down in Dandaudu community, Munya Local Government Area of Niger state.

By Hassan Zaggi

Since the introduction of the Girls for Girls (G4G) initiative by the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) in Niger state, the enrolment of girls in schools have increased in the state.

A mentor and primary school teacher in Dandaudu community, Munya Local Government Area of the state, Mrs Lami Tanko, disclosed this in interview with The AUTHORITY, recently.

Niger state is currently benefiting from the implementation of the 8-year Department for International Development (DfID) funded programme christened- the Girls Education Project (GEP), which is currently in the third phase of implementation (GEP 3).

UNICEF is implementing the project.

The core objectives of the UNICEF implemented GEP 3 project in Niger state, according to our findings, is to increase access to and demand for girls’ education by ensuring that parents and communities have improved knowledge and commitment to contribute to enrolling children at the right age in quality learning, safe and protective school environment and to improve learning outcome for girls.

Responding to questions from our Correspondent, Mrs Lami Tanko revealed that: “Prior to the introduction of the G4G initiative, the population of girls in school in this area was not much.

“But with the introduction of the G4G initiative, the enrolment of girls has skyrocketed.

“The parents see what other girls who are among the G4G group are doing and are excited, every parent decided to send his or her daughter to school.

“The parents use to visit the school to see what we are doing and have always been supportive. Most of them pledge never to withdraw their daughters from school.”

On her part, a woman leader in Hayin Sarkin Noma, Beri, Mariga Local Government of the state, Hafsat Adamu, said that since the introduction of the G4G initiative by UNICEF few years ago, the enrolment of girls in school has improved in the area.

Girls who normally go for hawking prior to the introduction of the initiative, according to her, are now in school.

“On girl child education, we keep encouraging our girls to enroll in school. All our girl- children that are of school age are now in school.

“Parents in this community have seen the importance of allowing the girl-child to be in school.

“We thank the government and UNICEF for introducing the G4G initiative which has opened the eyes of parents and are now rushing their children to school.”

Recalling the low level of the girl-child school enrolment in the local government prior to the introduction of the G4G initiative, UNICEF Desk Officer in Munya Local Government, Yahaya Baba, maintained that things have changed.

“Enrolment of girls in schools has improved because of the introduction of this G4G initiative. Because we have introduced the initiative in every school here, the girls use to go from house to house with the mentors to sensitize parents on the need to allow their female children enroll in school.

“This campaign has made most of the parents know that the education of a girl- child is important, hence, they bring out their female children to enroll in school.

“The initiative has dramatically triggered the girl-child school enrolment here.”

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