…Says, “10m of 18.5m Nigerian out-of-school children are girls.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
As part of the determination to contribute its own quota to the development of girl-child education, Caleb Foundation has pledged to reach out to girls in public schools in selected communities for value reorientation, awareness, and mentorship.
The foundation also stated that, it tailored programs that help girl-child fulfilled their potentials, while advocating for equality in education access and good quality of life.
Captain Caleb Danladi Bako, who is founder of the Foundation, disclosed these in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna, Tuesday, in commemoration of the International Day for Girl-Child.
Titled: ‘International Day of the Girl-Child 2022: Our Rights, Our Future,’ the foundation expressed the believes that all girls could be great, “If only they are given the chance,” saying, “that now is the time.”
“In summary, the girl-child, indeed, has a future that must be protected by everyone in society. Efforts should be made towards empowerment for the girl-child to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the society,” he noted.
Earlier, the foundation recalled that, the International Day of the Girl-Child has been celebrated annually, on every 11th of October, with the purpose to address the challenges girl-child faced and to promote girl-child empowerment and fulfillment of their rights.
“It was first observed on 11th October, 2012, to recognize the importance of empowering and investing in girls, following the adopted resolution 66/170 by the United Nations Assembly in December, 2011.
“The year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Girls. The last ten years have seen increased attention on the issues that matter to girls amongst government agencies, policymakers, human right activists, and the public,” he stated.
According to the statement, recent findings from United Nations showed that investment in girls’ rights remains limited and girls continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, and their physical and mental wellness.
“Data from United Nations shows that, 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 globally is not in education, employment, or training, compared to 1 in 10 boys. Empirical findings further reveal that, girls are primarily victims of sexual exploitation, while boys are mainly subjected to forced labour.
“These figures are evidence of challenges faced by girl-child from families, who see them as ‘liabilities’ instead of assets to societies, who don’t appreciate their abilities and talent because of their gender.
“In some societies, many girls continue to be prevented from accessing higher education and are subjected to child marriage and different forms of domestic and sexual violence,” he noted.
It added that, the theme for the year, ‘Our time is now-our right, our future,’ focused on the numerous challenges put in front of girls’ paths to reach their potential.
“Girl-child are faced with numerous challenges today. This includes gender discrimination, child marriage, cultural and religious limitation, illiteracy, sexual and domestic violence, and lack of access to basic education, among others.
“These challenges come with lifelong consequences, not just for themselves, but for society and future generations. Child marriage is a global problem that cut across countries, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Early child marriage is one of the biggest challenges for the girl-child in Nigeria,” it stated.
“According to UNICEF, the rate of child marriage among girls remained high in West Africa (37 percent), with 44% of girls in Nigeria marrying before attaining the age of 18,” he further stated.
“The primary reason for such high rates of marriage was found to be a lack of access to education, economic opportunity, and health services, alongside poverty, and religious and cultural beliefs.
“The practice of marrying-off young girls put their lives, well-being and future at risk. Girls, who marry before the age of 18 (child marriage), have a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence and a lower chance of continuing their education.
“They experience the worst economic and health challenge than their contemporaries, who have not married, and these disadvantages are subsequently passed to their children.
“Furthermore, child brides are frequently experiencing pregnancy during their teenage age, which is associated with an increased risk of maternal and child mortality. Girl-child education has become a major issue of concern in most developing countries,” it stated.
The foundation also stated that, “A recent statistics from UNICEF shows that, Nigeria has recorded a total of 18.5 million out-of-school children, of which 10 million are girls.
“Poverty, a lack of understanding, preference for male offspring, cultural and religious misconception, conflict and crisis, and trafficking, are among those factors that are thought to contribute to a large number of out-of-school children.
“It is widely agreed that, if we invest in the education of girls, we will see improvements in the lives of all girls. In every civilization, education is the single most significant agent of social transformation.
“The development and well-being of a girl-child depend on several factors, including access to advice and counseling, role modeling, parental attitude, educational opportunities, and the environment in which the child explores,” it quoted.