Educate A Girl Project

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The number of out-of-school children has risen by 2.7 million , attributable to the insurgency orchestrated by Boko Haram terrorists. Unfortunately, Nigeria has 13.2 million out-of-school children, the highest in the world. The girl-child is faced with growing repression and an increasingly limited access to enrollment and completion of secondary education. The situation is worrisome especially in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States located in North East Nigeria with the highest number of out of school children particularly girls. Many girls do not have access to education after a certain age. This is due to the prevalence of insecurity, imminent poverty and inadequate funding of education by relevant authorities at National, State and Local Government levels. The Nigerian girl-child faces significant obstacles in accessing proper education because of inherent traditional societal values placed on the boy-child over the girl-child. Most girls are married off, sent to hawk, or trade which is seen as an immediate return on investment.�

According to a needs assessment conducted by Connected Development (CODE) in Adamawa State, three key barriers to the girl-child enrollment and completion of secondary school education include affordability, accessibility and availability. The issues of affordability, accessibility, and availability of secondary schools can be a significant barrier to girls’ enrolment and retention in school. In rural areas, girls may have to walk considerable distances to reach the nearest school. The report identified infrastructure deficit, inadequate teaching and learning resources, inadequate Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) facilities, vulnerability to security threats, perception issues, poverty and overall poor quality of teaching as the key reasons for low levels of enrollment and completion of secondary school education for the girl-child.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics reported in 2018 that only 42% of the girl-child population in Nigeria are enrolled in secondary school. This implies that 58% of the girl-child who complete Primary education are not enrolled to continue their secondary education. Also, a 2021 UNESCO and World Bank Education sector analysis on Adamawa State reports that 51% of girls between 12-15 years never attended school while 62.5% are out of school. The 2019 Joint Educational Need Assessment (JENA) also reports that only 20% of schools in Adamawa State have adequate furniture (chairs, desks and mats) and are characterized by lack of school infrastructure leading to gender biases. In terms of education financing, the allocation to the education sector in Adamawa State although within the UNESCO benchmark range of 15-20% was 17.4% in 2021. However, considering the low budget performance of about 60%, the actual releases to the education sector becomes lower resulting in low quality of education. On the other hand, non-enrollment and retention of girls in secondary school has been attributed by parents to the poor quality of education characterized by lack of infrastructure and prevalent social norms which posits that irrespective of the level of education given to the girl-child, it would end up in the kitchen. As a result, parents prefer to send school age girls to hawk and support in income generating activities which serves as immediate gains for their families before the girls are eventually married off at a young age. 

The above context presents the need for specific interventions which targets to address the barriers that are faced by the girl child in enrollment and completion of secondary education. 

CATAI, with funding support from the Malala Fund, is actively engaged in a transformative 36-month project spanning six communities across Yola South, Fufore, and Mubi Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Adamawa State, Nigeria. This collaborative endeavor is dedicated to dismantling the multifaceted barriers that have historically obstructed the girl child’s access to and completion of secondary school education in the region. The project is already in motion with three key objectives: firstly, promoting increased education funding through the establishment of the Education Budget Monitoring and Advocacy Group (EBMAG), comprising 20 dedicated members drawn from CSOs, community representatives, and local leaders, to collectively advocate for enhanced public education financing; secondly, enhancing girls’ access to gender-responsive education by establishing six #Girls4Education clubs facilitated by trained teachers and mentors who utilize a comprehensive facilitator’s guide, empowering girls with life skills and fostering peer learning; and thirdly, addressing deeply ingrained social norms and gender barriers through annual participatory theater performances and a radio program, both aimed at raising awareness among stakeholders, inspiring attitudinal change, and promoting girl-child education, especially at the secondary level. This project is an ongoing and impactful initiative that is actively shaping the educational landscape in Adamawa State.