Plan International Nigeria in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has implemented an education project in the conflict-affected states to strengthen girl-child enrollment, retention and completion.
The project was also aimed at improving the realisation of girls’ rights to inclusive, protective and gender-responsive quality education in Borno and Yobe states
The Project Manager, Plan International, supporting the Education in Crisis Project, Mr
Hanoch Hebron, at the Project Steering Committee Meeting and End of Project, in Abuja on Tuesday, said the project initially targeted 43,000 learners.
Hebron said the project, implemented in six Local Government Areas (LGAs) has reached out so far to 63,000 learners.
It would be recalled that as of 2019, more than 1.7 million people had been displayed due to insurgency in the northeast of which one million were children.
Schools were destroyed and thousands of teachers displaced by Boko Haram insurgents and as a result, over 600,000 children lost access to education as an estimated 943 of the 1,627 schools in Borno State remained closed.
In 2019, UNICEF estimated 75 per cent of children in Borno (just over 1.4million) in the northeast region accounted for the most children out-of-school.
Hebron said the project initiative which started in December 2019, was aimed to address a range of demand and supply side barriers to help restore the right to 12 years education for the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and adolescent girls.
“The EIC is a project that is funded by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) with the objective of increasing access to girl child education to address some of the key barriers that hinders girls from attending schools and transiting from one class to another.
“The project ensures that the targeted community increase their demands for education while also supporting school structure.
“The government must get involved in education and strengthening capacity, providing support generally in order to ensure that quality education is something that is experienced in the targeted states.
“In the course of this project, we realised at the baseline that some of the barriers that hinders girl child from going to school includes a lot of things – cultural barriers, poverty, facilities in the schools, non availability of sufficient number of teachers to be able to care for the need on ground,” he said.
He added that for sustainability of the project, state government and LGA must ensure ownership of the project.
“We have done a lot of things to respond to some of the issues and work with the girls to understand the value of education through a lot of activities in the project by engaging directly with them through our life skills programme.
“We created school clubs in collaboration with the state government, psycho-social support and some of them have experiences that have made them not to value school anymore.
“We were able to work with their parents and community to create the value for education for girls to strengthen the quality of education provided and to transit and also complete schooling,” he added.
Mrs Falmata Joda, Principal, Government Day Junior secondary said the project has brought appreciable progress in the girl-child education.
According to her, the closing of the project will bring everyone to his/her toes to ensure sustainability of the project.
“Before this project was conducted in my school, I have less enrollment of girls than the boys but now I have more girls in the school and there is retention and completion of the girl child education.
“At the baseline before the start of the project, I have 236 girls and 620 boys but now I have 598 girls and 533 boys. Girls are now enrolled more in my school.
“Now that the project is ending I am assuring that we will not have less girls again because we have planned for them through extra curricular activities, friendly debating, friendly inter house sports competition which makes girls to come to school,” she said .
The Borno state government have also appealed that the project be continued saying the impact of insurgency in the state cannot be rebuilt by government alone.
The Borno State Commissioner of Education, Lawan Wakilbe said the 13 years insurgency brought serious set back on education in the state.
Represented by the Permanent Commissioner, Borno State Universal Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Sadiq Abdallah, commended the state governor who had started the sustainability mandate by ensuring that more schools were built to support the girl-child education.
“GAC and Plan International Nigeria has done a lot in Borno State. Before now, teachers were killed, educational facilities vandalised for 13 years and so we need more help to rebuild education.
“The Governor of Borno State is sustaining this project has built a mega school city to take care of the large chunk of out-of-school children, employed 4,000 teachers to manage the large team of out-of-school children.
In the same vein, the Deputy Director, Quality Assurance, Yobe SUBEB, Abdu Haladu, said the state government had established additional eight secondary schools for girls in order to sustain the project.
Haladu said though the issue of girl-child education used to be a problem but with the interventions of the donor agencies, it has improved with high enrollment of the girls in schools across the state. (NAN)

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