Friday 14 October 2016

By James Bigila, Media Coordinator

Recently, Save the Children Nigerian in conjuction with the Ministry for Economic planning in Gombe state held a  Stakeholders Parley on Girl Education which focused on sharing insights on the position of Development partners, Government, Legislature, Traditional and Religious Leaders/Institutions in ensuring all girls complete their Senior Secondary School by 2030 in Gombe State.

 Stakeholders and policy makers in a group photo at the event

Poverty remains one of the most underlying problems of Girl Education. Consequently, some of the issues impeding girl education are economic, social and cultural. Stakeholders present however urged the Government of Gombe State to create and implement polices favorable to the Girl Child, subsidize school fees for Girls, provide scholarship programs, create incentives for present female teachers to serve as motivation for upcoming female teacher and most importantly create jobs opportunities for Fathers to enable them afford tuition fees for their Girl Child.

Dr David Olayemi, Save the Children’s Director for Advocacy and Campaigns during the opening remarks

Welcome remarks was conveyed to the audience by the Hon Commisioner for Economic planning, Gombe State. He implored all stake holders to join hands in making sure every child in Gombe survives and thrives in Gombe State.

The Speaker, House of Assembly Gombe State Hon. Nasiru Abubakar, in his remars reassured the participants of the support of the Lawmakers in making sure every girl completes secondary Education in the State. He said “despite efforts by Development partners and government, there are high numbers in the world on uneducated children which Nigeria ranks top amongs. This is a disturbing trend that needs to be tackled head on in Gombe State.”

Hon Speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasiru Abubakar answering questions from the media

In delivering her speech, the Wife of the Governor represented by the Deputy Governors wife Mrs Suzy Charles Iliya, declared open the stakeholders parley solely focused on improving Girl Education in Gombe State and also launched the State of the Nigerian Children Gombe State Brief.

Wife of the Governor represented by the Deputy Governors wife Mrs Suzy Charles Iliya, declaring open the stakeholders parley

Mrs. Illiya said "Education is a vaccine which is capable of empowering girls to be able to make good choices in the future and I commit towards ensuring that all girls complete their Secondary School Education by 2030" - Mrs Suzy Charles Iliya

In making his feedback on data released by the State of the Nigerian Children report, Gombe State, the  Chairman house Committee on Education, Mr Mohhamed Bello has said religious traditions may hinder the achievements in educating Girls except certain laws and awareness is changed and done.

A commentator from the audience stressed the need to educate children in households to respect gender and treat all gender equally. Male kids should not be treated more special in the home and female kids should also not be relegated to the background.

Another participant also commended the work of Save the Children in putting together data presented in the brief and implored all stakeholders to not just read or hear this stats and throw them behind but try to implement policies and strategies to reduce the numbers of malnutrition and immunization indices presented in the State of the Nigerian Children Report.

Dr. David Olayemi, Director for Campaigns And Advocacy conveyed the country Directors opening remarks and acknowledged Gombe State as been the first in Launching the Girl education campaign in the states.

Dr Olayemi said “Nigeria as a country did not achieve a number of SDGs. Nigeria could not achieve particular gains in preventing child deaths through immunization and Nutrition due to low number of health workers.

He added, “If we have enough girls who complete senior secondary school in Gombe state, then we will have enough health workers that will be culturally acceptable in the society as health workers”.

In concluding his opening remarks he said with the presence of the speaker and the Wife of the Governor ably represented by the Deputy Governors wife, this will mark the beginning of new things that will shape the lives of girls in Gombe State.

Altine Lewi the Field Manager, Save the Children for Gombe State expressed happiness with the Work of the Government so far in the state and implored all government stake holders towards achieving success for the girl child.

Mrs Aisha Umar Maigairi UNICEFs Rep in Gombe State took the participants through the indices for Malnutrition, Immunization, Education and Child protection as well as Child marriage in Gombe State with 61 percent of children acutely malnourished in Gombe state.

“Only 22% of children aged 12 -23 months received vaccination as she said.

She also spoke on Early childhood education for Children in Gombe State with 87% of Children with no early childhood education.

She added, Gombe state ranks 25th out of 37 states as the best place where a child needs to be born. She emplored the government in Gombe State to ensure more girls are educated to  increase the numbers of female teachers in Gombe state in order to increase the number of female children been sent to schools in Gombe State.

State of the Nigerian Children Brief for Gombe State, Been unveiled by the Wife of the Deputy Governor.

Goodwill messages delivered by Stakeholders at the event to tackles issues on girl child education with the Hon Speaker Gombe State House of Assembly promising that the legislature in the state will continue to receive attention of the State House of Assembly in Gombe State.

He said “the House will engage government and community leaders to sustain efforts at making sure every girl is educated in the state. He commended Save the Children for their work and come out useful recommendations to the government and also states that “the House of Assembly is willing to partner with all NGOS to make sure policies and recommendations are implemented to get girls educated in Gombe State.”

Dr. Buba Alfayo District Head of Shongom, said “as a community leader, we are responsible for mobilizing the grassroots support in respect of Natal and Anti Natal care”.

He said it is pertinent on the traditional rulers to mobilise the community on immunization. He also added that it is the duty of traditional leaders to make sure all mothers take their children for immunization.

Group Photo with Policy makers in Gombe State, Traditional Rulers and Wife of the Deputy Governor

He enjoined all and sundry, as members of the community to preach equality for both boys and girls. He added  “traditional institutions should also confer honours and titles on successful women as its done also to men.”

The event came to a close with the development of a communique that will help press further the engagement of stake holders towards the implementation of education for girls in Gombe.