Protect yourselves, pursue educational courses — group urges girls


Speakers at an event in Sokoto to mark the International Day of the Girl-child, have urged girls in the country not to relent in the pursuit of education, so as to empower themselves for the future.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by an NGO, Rural Women and Youth Development, in collaboration with Action Aid Nigeria and NORAD.

The Day is marked every Oct. 11 to raise awareness on the plights of girls around the world and fashion out ways to empower them and protect their rights.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “My Voice, Our Equal Future.”

In his presentation, the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, urged parents and teachers to always protect girls and ensure they remain in school.

He also urged parents not to allow anything to disrupt the education of their daughters or condone any act of sexual assault on them.

The district head stressed that getting married should not be a barrier to education, and advised parents and husbands not to stunt the intellectual development of girls.

Umar-Jabbi expressed concern over the high number of girls not attending schools in Sokoto state and called for urgent action to reverse the trend.

“The population of girls not attending schools in Sokoto State, women mortality rates and percentage of women not attending hospitals are worrisome,” he added.

He therefore stressed the need to allow women to be properly educated, so as pursue carriers in various fields, including health services, schools and other relevant fields.

Umar-Jabbi emphasized that girls should be enrolled into schools and allowed to complete their studies, in order to contribute more meaningfully to national development.

He stressed that the cultural norms and poverty inhibiting girl-child education and empowerment in northern parts of the country must be broken.

Umar-Jabbi noted that the successes of conditional cash transfer scheme, have shown that with little funding, more girls could be enrolled in schools and prevent them from hawking.

Dr Awwal Musa, a crusader of good governance and lecturer at the Usman Danfodio University, counselled girls to pursue their individual visions in life and shun any temptations.

Musa, who is also the Coordinator of Productive Youth Vanguards, encouraged girls to always open up and discuss issues affecting them with their parents and teachers.

He explained that many girls were being abused and threatened by the perpetrators, and advised such girls and their families to speak out and demand justice.

“The sky is your limit, you can attain any position in life, just be dedicated, focused and pursue your ambitions,’’ Musa emphasized.

He also advised girls to be their states’ ambassadors in transforming the women folk by studying professional courses and becoming role models in the society.

The Director Mobilization, Sokoto Universal Basic Education Board, Mr Kabiru Umar, said the state government has formulated diverse programmes to promote girls education and urged parents to allow their children to access them.

Also, Kyauta Giwa of ActionAid, said that rural areas were targeted for the awareness because girls in the rural areas needed to be encouraged to enrol in school.

Giwa said “girls in rural areas need to be developed; their rights have to be protected because Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially rape, is now prevalent in our communities.

“We are in Sokoto with this mission, along with others that are being promoted such as ”Safe spaces” and others.

“I think it is an opportunity for us to bring the communities to the fore, to present them to the government and other policy makers as well as development partners, to assist the girl child.

“This is the only way we can protect them; assist them to go to school, learn crafts, among others things,’’ Giwa said.

She urged development partners to assist girls in specific communities, to change their lives.

Giwa explained that the girl-child day is a special day set aside by the UN to celebrate girls, evaluate the progress made during the year and look toward their needs, challenges, rights, education and development.

NAN reports that the girls who participated in the programme were drawn from different schools across Sokoto State.

The event featured discussions on educational progression, courses and life experiences. (NAN)

– Oct. 19 2020 @ 15:29 GMT |

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