The Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) on Friday hailed $500 million dollars World Bank loan to seven Nigerianstates to improve girl-child education.
CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Mrs Betty Abah, made the commendation in Lagos.
According to her, the loan is a great develooment as Nigeria currently has a high number of out-of-school children, many of whom are girls.
“The loan will go a long way in responding to the situation and seeing that the education inequality gap is bridged.
“The inclusion of provision of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools in the agenda is also exciting, as poverty and lack of easy access to water and hygiene sources are one of the major but less-spoken-about factors keeping girls away from school in Nigeria.
“The inclusion of information and communication technology education is also well-thought-out, relevant and commendable,” she said.
Abah, who noted that many girls out of school were concentrated in northern Northern, however, advocated that more of non northern states be included as beneficiaries of the grant.
She noted that poverty, the leading factor of girls staying out of school, was widespread.
She said that Ebonyi in the South East for instance, was one of the poorest states.
According to her, Ebonyi is one of the states from which girls are being trafficked.
World Bank Directors had on July 29 approved $500 million credit from the International Development Association for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment and to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in target areas.
That World Bank said the project would support access to secondary education and empowerment for adolescent girls in seven states – Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti.
Abah hoped that every kobo from the fund would be accounted for, to make maximum impacts.
“What mechanisms has the World Bank Office in Nigeria put on ground to ensure that the projects are well monitored, carried out in transparent ways and that the money indeed works for the intended targets?
“Will part of the fund be used to fund direct school materials for girls outside erecting facilities in schools?” she asked.
Abah said that she had discovered in her line of work that millions of children even in states where education was free, could not go to school or stay in school due to their parents’ or guardians’ inability to buy exercise books, school uniforms and other school materials.
She urged that the fund be used for maximum impacts and not for seminars and activities which would not have impacts on the intended beneficiaries.
Abah said that this period of economic challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic was the right time to render help to needy schoolgirls since many families were struggling to survive.
“Also, due to the widespread patriarchal tendencies, girls are the sacrificial lambs when it comes to families’ choices/priorities in term of school sponsorship and empowerment programme,” she said.