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World Bank approves $500mn empowerment fund to Kano, Ekiti, five others

By News Desk

In a bid to reduce ratio of Nigerian girls not in schools, the World Bank has approved a $500 million credit to seven states in the country to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in the selected states.

The World Bank said that the project would support adolescent girls’ in the seven selected states, Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Plateau, and Ekitito access secondary education and get empowered. 

Announcing the approval through a statement released on Wednesday, the bank noted that the credit approved was from its International Development Association (IDA) which provides grants to developing countries.

The grants tagged Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) with zero-interest loans would boost the country’s economy and improve the livelihood of the populace.

AGILE project was expected to use secondary as a platform to empower girls through education, life skills, health education, Gender-Based Violence awareness and prevention, negotiation skills, self-agency, and digital literacy skills.

According to the statement, over six million girls and boys are expected to benefit from the project, and many students are expected to continue benefiting after the project ends.

It added that the project would benefit about 6.7 million adolescents and 15.5 million direct project beneficiaries would include families and communities in participating states.

“The AGILE project will expand existing primary and Junior Secondary Schools (JSSs) to include both JSSs and Senior Secondary Schools to make schools functional, safe, and inclusive to teaching and learning.

“This entails building more than 5,500 JSSs and 3,300 classrooms for SSSs, as well as improving 2,786 Junior Secondary and 1,914 Senior Secondary schools with safe, accessible, and inclusive infrastructure”.

Furthermore, it stated that about 340,000 girls would receive life skills training which would incorporate health information and key information on climate change, safety, and gender-based violence awareness.

It also said that 300,000 girls would receive digital literacy training to help them thrive in the digital economy adding that the project would offer half a million girls from the “poorest households” with financial incentives and that it would serve as scholarships to further support their retention and completion of their secondary school.

“It will also support raising awareness to address social norms and promote positive behaviors for a supportive and enabling environment for girls’ education using communication and high-level advocacy.”

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

Chaudhuri added that the project would benefit about 6.7 million adolescents and 15.5 million direct project beneficiaries would include families and communities in participating states.

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