The World Bank has approved a new $700 million loan for Nigeria to improve the education and empowerment of adolescent girls, according to a statement published on its website on Friday.
The new loan will provide additional funding for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment, which is an ongoing initiative.
The statement read, “The World Bank has approved an additional $700 million for Nigeria to expand the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment programme, whose objective is to increase secondary education opportunities for girls in targeted states.”The additional funding will expand project activities from the current seven states to an additional eleven states, and the targeted beneficiaries will be expanded to include out-of-school girls, married women, and those with disabilities.
In addition, it was stated that Nigeria had between 12 and 15 million school-aged children who were not in school, the majority of whom resided in Northern Nigeria, and that an estimated one million children would be affected by increased insecurity around schools in 2020-2021.
In the seven states implementing the AGILE programme — Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Plateau — the number of secondary school-aged girls has increased from approximately 900,000 to over 1,6 million.Under the program, over 5,000 classrooms have been renovated, and over 250,000 scholarships have been awarded to girls who qualify.
“The AGILE program has supported the construction and rehabilitation of WASH facilities in secondary schools, as well as the implementation of computers and solar panels, which make girls’ and boys’ school attendance more convenient and conducive. Life skills, system enhancement, and advocacy are additional important aspects of the program that address social norms that impede girls’ education, according to the World Bank.
According to Shubham Chaudhuri, country director for Nigeria at the World Bank, closing the gender disparity in economic empowerment by ensuring girls have access to education and skills is essential for Nigeria’s economic growth and development.Nigeria’s working population will soon be one of the youngest and largest around the world, which means that investing in adolescent females is imperative when addressing overall economic prospects and growth.”
The World Bank also stated that the financing would benefit over 15 million students and beneficiaries, including teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff in existing and newly constructed schools, and that the new fund would expand the project to 18 states and help Nigeria achieve better education and health outcomes for girls.