Traditional and religious leaders in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria have vowed to support the Advocacy for Policy formulation and Adoption of Free and Compulsory Education for girls in the State.
This is with a view to having a policy document and implementation framework to back up the pronouncements by the State Government.
The leaders gave the undertaken in Kaduna, at a sensitization meeting organised by the Africa Media Development Foundation, AMDF which is implementing the project funded by RISE UP, a programme of the Public Health Institute through funding from the CUMMINS Foundation in the United States.
The traditional and religious leaders commended the AMDF for the project and affirmed their readiness to partner it for the success of the “laudable” programme.
Describing themselves as Advocates of free education for girls, the participants are of the view that girl child education has a multiplier effect not only on the family, but the society.
“Once you have an educated mother, you have a better and healthy family”.
They recalled efforts in some parts of Northern Nigeria during the colonial era when girls education was given prominence with some traditional rulers ready to donate land or salaries because of the multiplier effect on the populace.
The participants therefore advised the Ministry of Education to expedite action to give the project all the necessary attention and support, to make it a reality.
They also spoke of the need for government to motivate teachers by providing conducive teaching and learning environment.
In her contribution, the State Deputy Director, Female Education, Mrs Elizabeth Fatima David said though the State has the highest number of girls enrolment in school, they did not stay to graduate due to some hindrances including finance.
“Most of the girls dropped out and become house help or got pregnant to the disappointment of their parents”.
Mrs David who described the project as a welcome development, assured that the document when formulated, would take everything into consideration by eliminating all the hindrances affecting girls education in the State.
She said the Ministry was delighted and appreciative of the AMDF for initiating what no other NGO had done in the State, and promised to support the programme to become a reality.
Earlier, the Executive Director AMDF, Mr. Iliya Kure had spoken on the objectives and expectations on the meeting and enjoined the leaders to partner the NGO and make their inputs from religious and cultural perspectives, having enlightened their communities entrusted in them by God.
On his part, the Programme Manager, Mr. Ben Yunana Maigari who gave an overview of the project, spoke on the non completion rate of girls in schools which had become worrisome to the government, hence the pronouncements on free education, but without a supporting document.
Mr. Maigari commended the participants for the passion and commitment demonstrated at the meeting and urged them to mobilise their communities.
He assured them that “the policy document is our own and not government.”
Traditional and religious leaders in attendance include the District heads of Doka, Gabasawa, Kufana, Kawo, Makera and Kujama, whlie the religious leaders were drawn from the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Jama’atul Nasril Islam JNI, Federation Of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN, the Catholic Women, and Immans.