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World Bank approves $500m credit to rescue adolescent girl education in Nigeria

Nigeria’s indebtedness to World Bank hits N3.6tn

The World Bank Wednesday said it had consented to a $500 million credit at the behest of the International Development Association, which provides loans and grants to the poorest developing countries in the world, to bankroll the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Development (AGILE).

The grand scheme embraces the expansion of access to secondary education among girls in areas with high out-of-school girl population particularly Nigeria’s benighted north.

‘Adolescent girls face many constraints in accessing and completing secondary education. In northern Nigeria, the lack of secondary schools is significantly greater with up to ten primary schools for every secondary school.

‘Poor condition of infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities make it difficult for girls to stay in school.

‘In addition, close to 80 per cent of poor households are in the north, which makes it very challenging for them to cover the direct and indirect costs of schooling,’ the World Bank said in a press statement on its website.

1.3 million girls of the 1.85 million who started primary school in 2017/2018 in the northern states, according to the Washington-based lender, will drop out before getting to the exit class junior secondary education.

Northern region has one has one of the biggest concentrations of the world’s extremely poor people, it said in a commentary in February.

AGILE plans to employ secondary school as an avenue to empower girls via education, negotiation skills, life skills, health education, gender-based violence awareness and prevention, self-agency and digital agency skills.

Read also: SPECIAL REPORT… Inside Ekiti and the challenges of pregnant teenage girls going to school

The World Bank-backed initiative has in mind 6 million girls and boys as beneficiaries and many more cohorts of theirs will remain as beneficiaries after the project winds down.

‘There is no better investment to accelerate Nigeria’s human capital development than to significantly boost girls’ education,’ Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said.

‘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.’

The 7 beneficiary states include Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti.

It will support approximately 6.7 million adolescents and the 15.5 million direct projects beneficiaries will comprise families and communities in the states.

The World Bank initiative also intends to construct over 5,500 JSSs and 3,300 classrooms for SSSs while improving 2,786 JSSs and 1,914 SSSs with secure, accessible and inclusive amenities.

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