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Monday, June 15, 2015

Investing in girls’ education, impacts child marriage - UNICEF

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has identified investing in girls education as a step capable of impacting on child marriage, even as they are partnering with some other international agencies to ensure that 1 million more girls are in school by 2020, reports ITRealms. 

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough made this disclosure at the 2015 commemoration Day of the African Child with the theme “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa,” describing the theme as timely.

According to Gough, UNICEF is helping the government to address the challenge of ensuring all children especially girls have access to quality education, especially in Nigeria.

Lamenting that child marriage has increased in Nigeria, UNICEF noted that the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS 4) 2011, showed that there is a five per cent increase in the number of girls married before age 15.

“It was 13 per cent in 2007 and MICS 2011 indicates it is now 18 per cent,” UNICEF said. 

Child marriage, as said by UNICEF official, denies children the attainment of their human rights as children. 

“It erodes the child’s rights to life, good health, education and dignity.  Studies link child marriage to maternal mortality, school drop-out, Virginal fistula (VVF) condition and malnutrition among others,” a press statement endorsed by Geoffrey Njoku of UNICEF Nigeria read.

Equally, UNICEF, he said, believes that investments in girls education and getting more girls into school delays marriage and impacts the incidence of child marriage. 

ITRealms that the Girls’ Education Project, funded by the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) and implemented by UNICEF, aims to get 1 million more girls into school by 2020, while at the same improving the quality of education. 

The project, UNICEF pointed is helping to train female teachers through the female teachers’ service scheme and deploying them to rural areas, where the predominance of male teachers deters many parents from sending their girls to school. 

“Another intervention under this project is the conditional cash transfer scheme provides cash to girls to help defray some school-related costs like textbooks, uniforms and others.  The project, aims to encourage parents to send their daughters to school. It is expected to reach more than 50, 000 girls this year in Sokoto and Niger States. 

“Getting girls into schooling, and remain in school is particularly important in a country where 10.5 million children are out of school, and more than 60 per cent of them are  girls. It is a win for everybody and has an impact on child marriage,’ Gough said.


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