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Kaduna forum advocates safe spaces for school girls

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From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

Despite concerted efforts by education enthusiasts within and outside Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria to canvass for enabling environment for improved girls education, so much still need to be done to create a safe space for them to achieve their rights to qualitative education.

From pre-primary to tertiary education, girls are still finding it difficult to have safe spaces bothering on security, water hygiene and sanitation, accessibility by those who are with disabilities among others. These bottlenecks and others issues made girls contribute about 60 percent of the 13.2 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.

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Considering the pivotal role of the media especially when it comes to agenda-setting and connecting those on the demand side of governance to those on the supply side, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) in synergy with Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM) is currently facilitating a two-day discussion with journalists to increase awareness and deepen the conversation on education procurement data with a focus on girls education.

The quest to ensure that concerns of women and girls are given prominence made the Kaduna state government recently passed Child Welfare and Protection law and Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy which are in tandem with the Beijing 25 plus call for women and girls right to education which Nigeria was a signatory to.

In her goodwill message at the media engagement holding in Zaria, Kaduna State, Co-Chair, Open Government Partnership (citizens arm) Hajiya Hadiza Umar who was represented by Joshua James (budget technical working group OGP), described girls education as important which must be a top priority of government at all levels.

According to Joshua, “girls education is very important. For example, the citizen co-chair of OGP is a lady which shows what education can do to girls as they grow up. She was not appointed but elected to represent Africa.

“We tracked 40 UBEC/SUBEB funded projects in 15 of 23 local government areas in Kaduna state and our findings and recommendations are put together in this scorecard we are discussing.

“We want to see that the citizens do not just have a say but see a positive response in physical terms to their demands from those on the supply side of governance. We in the OGP are not fighting government but partnering with the government to deliver dividends of democracy to all irrespective of status.”

Earlier, State Partnership Facilitator, PERL, Istifanus Akau, intimated to participants that all aspect of the scorecard is necessary, hence, their full concentration through the engagement.

“However, you can limit yourself to the area that suits your interest and the medium you are representing. I urge us to seek clarifications where we are not clear so we dish out the right information to our audience.

“It is also important to pay attention to this important presentation and discussion around increasing and deepening conversation on education procurement data with a special focus on girls education in Kaduna state.

On his part, representative of KADBEAM, Danjuma Martins said, “we have seen a lot of reports from our media partners and we do not take your partnership and readiness to join us as we move the state education sector forward for granted. We need to keep doing this until we see desired changes in our education sector where no girl or boy is keg behind.

Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme in Nigeria funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) which aims to bring together governments and citizens groups at both the federal and the state level to address governance challenges associated with service delivery.

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