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World Bank to gift 8,475 schoolgirls cash

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By Abraham Adekunle

The World Bank to give cash incentive to 8,475 Nigerian schoolgirls.

According to recent reports, Nigeria has a total number of 18.5 million out-of-school children, 60 per cent of which are girls. This means that more than 11 million of out-of-school children are girls. The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, said the statistics are alarming. “Most importantly, you will need to know that the majority of these out-of-school children are actually from Northern Nigeria,” he said. “This situation heightens the gender inequity, where only one in four girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education.”

It is for this reason that the Kaduna State Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), a World Bank-supported project, has been set up to disburse cash incentives to 8,475 girls to encourage them to attend school. This is to promote girl-child school enrolment, retention, and completion. The Project Coordinator, Mrs. Maryam Dangaji revealed this in Kaduna at the inauguration of ECO Clubs in 10 pilot public schools in order to commemorate the 2022 World Environment Day.

Beneficiary were drawn from 13 LGAs in the state.

She said that these 8,475 beneficiaries were drawn from 13 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State with high rate of poverty and low rate of transition from one level to another in school. It is not uncommon for schoolchildren in Northern Nigeria to drop out of school at the completion of primary or junior school level. She said that the goal was to support girls prevented from attending schools due to hawking and other commercial activities done at home as well as the state of insecurity in the region.

She further explained that the cash incentive which will be given to the parents or guardian of a benefiting girl ranged from 5,000 naira to 10,000 naira. She said that 5,000 naira will be given to the parent or guardian upon the registration of that child into the programme at the completion of primary school and at the end of Junior Secondary School 3 (JSS 3). This amount will be disbursed every term. She also added that the beneficiaries of the program will receive 10,000 naira upon transitioning to JSS 1 or SSS 1. The project coordinator revealed that these payments are subjected to certain conditions. A beneficiary must enroll in school, remain in school, and attain at least 80 per cent attendance in class.

Implementation manual shows 34,124 girls will benefit in the state.

The Project Implementation Manual (PIM) of the program shows that a total of 34,124 girls are to benefit from the cash program in Kaduna State. It is projected that four batches of girls transitioning from primary 6 to JSS 1 and from JSS 3 to SSS 1 will be covered throughout the project. The project coordinator said that the objective of the Kaduna AGILE Project is to help improve secondary school educational opportunities among schoolgirls in targeted communities in participating states.

The AGILE Project Coordinator, Dangaji said, “The cash transfer support was based on the observation that many girls do not transition from primary to junior secondary school or from junior secondary to senior secondary school, largely due to poverty. This subcomponent of the project is designed to reduce direct and indirect costs related to girls’ school enrolment, attendance, and completion. The support will alleviate the financial burden that households face in sending their girls to school.”

AGILE ECO Clubs part of AGILE’s “catch them young” strategy.

Dangaji had earlier said that the ECO Clubs, which is known as the Kaduna AGILE ECO Club, was part of AGILE’s “catch them young” strategy to better enlighten students on environmental conservation. According to the coordinator, the ECO Clubs are established to inculcate the culture of tree planting, love, protection, and care for the environment among students. Meanwhile, the interventions provided by the Girls Education Project 3 (GEP3) which is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK, and which was implemented by the UNICEF, has made over 1.4 million girls return to school.

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