The United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) at the launch of the Adolecent Girl Child Initiative in Northern Nigeria which held in Kaduna on Wednesday said according to available statistics as at 2015, over 4.7 million girls within the age bracket of 15-19 ages suffers physical and Sexual violence.This make up 28 percent of the 17 million girls that falls between that ages while girls within the age bracket of 10-19, only 56.7 percent have primary education and 45.7 percent have secondary education.
In the same vein, 11.6 percent of the girls are married off at age 15 while 23 percent of the girls between the ages of 15-19 suffers from teenage pregnancy resulting in maternal deaths of 30 percents which is 576 deaths recorded per 100,000live births.
According to Mrs Bahijjatu Garko Bello of UNFPA and Dr Daniel Perlman of Centre for Girls Education (CGE) and population and Reproductive Health Initiative (PRHI) in their presentations at the launch, the need to educate the girl child cannot be over-emphasised.
UNFPA in partnership wwith the Government of Canada and the CGE of PRHI is reducing thee risks by. Expanding the possibility of adolescent girls. To stay in school through the Adolescent Girls Initiative.
The initiative is UNFPA’s response to the challenges identified with adolescent girls in reaching their full potentials. It is an initiative where girls are enrolled from primary to secondary school and financially supported to stay in school and empowered beyond classroom.
In addition, the girls are enrolled in UNFPA safe spaces where they are supported with extra numeracy and literacy classes vocational. Skills, reproductive and. Child health information that empower them to better perform in school and also in their addult life.
Earlier in her remarks, Representative of the Canadian High Commission, Miss. Nancy said, Northern Nigeria, has the highest rates of female illiteracy in the country and account for negative health outcomes which include, the highest maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and infant mortality as well as the highest rate of early marriage.
She said, the Adolescent Girls Initiative in Northern Nigeria, is a UNFPA-supported programme that teaches vulnerable girls about their rights, their bodies and health. Adding that, “The goal of the Initiative is to improve the social, economic and health wellbeing of rural and low-income urban adolescent girls and secure their future through increased access to education (make them stay in school), sexual reproductive health information/services and life-skills that will positively impact on health choices.
She equally pledged the commitment of the Canadian government to the girl child education project in Nigeria.
On their parts, wives of the Governor of Kaduna, Yobe and Bauchi who equally made public commitment onbehalf of other governors wives in Northern Nigeria pledged to work towards promotion of girl child education in their respective states, be advocate of girl child education, invest in teenage girls and become champions and advocates of teenage girls investment in northern region.