The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu on Wednesday joined other proponents of the girl-child rights to advocate for rights and opportunities for girls worldwide.
It was at the event organized by Plan International- an independent global rights organization committed to supporting vulnerable and marginalized children and their communities to be free from poverty.
Represented by Ariba Opeyemi in Abuja at the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, the minister said that the United Nations has set October 11 for promoting the rights of girls and addressing the unique challenges they face.
The theme was: “Unlock the Power of Girls Now.”
He noted that the day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuses suffered by girls around the world.
According to Adamu, the ministry has in its effort to boost girl-child education developed the National Policy in Gender Education to ensure that gender is systematically mainstreamed into all components of the education sector.
He said that the policy goal is to ensure equal access to basic education and promote retention, competition and high performance for all pupils which require attention and provisions for particularly the disadvantaged children especially girls at the basic education level.
The minister said that the ministry has put in place some strategies to encourage girl-child education in schools which includes advocacy and sensitization.
He added that there are also incentives for girls including scholarship schemes funded by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
Adamu was thankful to the organizer, Plan International Nigeria for its quest for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
His words: “Your contributions to the lives of our young children especially the girls will go a long way to help in living fulfilled lives and ensuring that the girl-child is educated.”
Speaking, Country Director, Plan International Nigeria, Hussaini Abdu said that Nigeria’s commitment and capacity to meet the SDG vision 2030 target will substantially depend on the level of investment in adolescent girls.
He added that commitment to the adolescent girl will help strengthen this important age category, deal with the structural inequality and discrimination, and help break the structural inequality and discrimination, and help break the circle of poverty and exclusion.
Abdu submitted that “to achieve this, government, development partners and civil society groups will need to invest in targeted programmes, advocate and develop adolescent-specific policies and programmes and involve them in the decision- making processes.”
He had earlier revealed that there are about 600million adolescent girls between age 10 to 19 in the world, each with boundless individual potential, but limited opportunities.
He said that they are less recognized and given limited attention and almost vanishing from public awareness and the international development agenda.
According to him, adolescent girls are faced with structural challenges of inequalities in education, access to public health protection and even targeted development interventions.
He insisted that investing in adolescent girls can have enormous multiplier effects on their development and contribute to creating a better world by 2030.
Meanwhile, the former Ambassador of Ethiopia, Nkoyo Toyo, called for the use of basic income and effective public campaigns to bring about the wholesale change in attitudes to ensure that girls and women are valued equally with boys and men.
She said that the “basic income will put the girl out there invisible ways and places of power and help them to seek ways to influence their circumstances.”
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