The World Bank has approved a $500 million dollar loan to help increase access to education among females in Nigeria.
In conjuction with the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), the scheme is targeted to operate within 7 Nigerian states.
In a statement, the World Bank noted that the credit facility is to be disbursed through the International Development Association (IDA) which provides credit for human development in developing nations.
The World Bank said that the project would be implemented mainly in Northern states including Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau. Ekiti is the only Southern State represented.
It also added that the $500 million credit facility must be repayable in a maximum of 35 years, with a near-zero interest rate.
The project would also enable girls to gain such skills as digital literacy, life skills, and health education. The World Bank forecasts that a minimum of six million girls and boys would benefit from the project.
According to the World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri.“There is no better investment to accelerate Nigeria’s human capital development than to significantly boost girls’ education. The AGILE project will enable Nigeria to make progress in improving access and quality of education for girls, especially in northern Nigeria. Addressing the key structural impediments in a comprehensive way will create the enabling environment to help Nigeria ensure better outcomes for girls, which will translate into their ability to contribute to productivity and better economic outcomes for themselves and the country.”
It can be recalled that the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) recently estimated that about 27.2 percent of girls across Nigeria are not enrolled in schools.
Its report narrated that teenage girls in Nigeria face multiple challenges with completing secondary school, especially In the northern Nigeria where the lack of schools is even a greater challenge.
Corroborating this, the World Bank said: “Poor condition of infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities makes it difficult for girls to stay in school. In addition, close to 80 percent of poor households are in the north, which makes it very challenging for them to cover the direct and indirect costs of schooling. All these factors have contributed towards limiting the number of girls that have access to secondary school.
“ If nothing is done, 1.3 million girls out of the 1.85 million who began primary school in 2017/2018 in the northern states will drop out before reaching the last year of junior secondary school.”
The Initiative is expected to help young girls navigate the peculiar challenges hampering their access to education.
It is a public-private partnership aimed at promoting the transition of adolescent girls from school to productive employment through innovative interventions that are tested, and then scaled-up or replicated if successful.
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