The World Bank has approved a $500 million credit from the International Development Association for Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment, AGILE, to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in seven states.
The project would support access to secondary education and empowerment for adolescent girls in Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti States.
The bank said that adolescent girls face many constraints in accessing and completing secondary education, especially in Northern Nigeria where there are far fewer secondary schools than primary schools
“Poor condition of infrastructure and lack of Water Sanitation and Hygiene 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 World Bank said the scheme would use secondary school as a platform to empower girls through education, life skills, health education (such as nutrition, reproductive health) GBV awareness and prevention, negotiations skills, self-agency and digital literacy skills.
No fewer than six million girls and boys are expected to benefit from the project and many more students would continue benefiting after the project ends.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said “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 an 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,” he submitted.
Specifically, the project would benefit about 6.7 million adolescents and 15.5 million direct project beneficiaries would include families and communities in participating states.