UNICEF program reduces girl child labour in Nigeria

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

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Cash Transfer Program, an access Intervention initiative introduced by UNICEF in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger States, is currently reducing Girl Child labour across the states.

During a Media Dialogue on Educate a child Cash Transfer Program CTP, in Sokoto State, Stakeholders observed reduction in girl child labour in participating states.

The State Coordinators of the programme in Sokoto and Niger States, Mamuda Galadima said girl Child Street hawking in catchment communities had reduced to the barest minimum.

The Coordinators also said the programme is addressing issues affecting girls enrolment in schools.

Galadima disclosed that a total of 11,341 girls were taken out of the streets of six local government areas of the state.

He said school enrolment monitoring data in Sokoto state between 2014 and 1016 revealed 79 percent of girl’s average enrolment per school, and 12.6 percent of boys as well.

He hinted that the government of sokoto state had since commenced a sustainability plan on the programme with initial payment to 10,106 beneficiaries; Galadima added that the plan will run between 2017 and 2020.

The Niger State Coordinator of the programme, Idris Azika added that 12,911 beneficiaries were reached in 251 communities between 2014 and 2016.

When the government of Niger state observed that the cash transfer programme reduced street hawking for girls in the target local government, Governor Abubakar then allocated 193million to sustain the programme in the state for the next four years,” Azika said.

The Headmaster of Rimawa model primary school, Yusuf said “before the cash transfer programme, the number of female children were not much but now, it has increased, before the cash transfer the number of girls in school was less than 200 but now girls enrolment is getting close to 600.”

“CTP is the one that is allowing children to come to school because as UNICEF is giving parents financial assistance, it is making children to stop hawking and they now allow them to come to school.”

During a field work coordinated by UNICEF and Sokoto state government, in Rimawa model primary school, Goronyo local government, out of 1170 pupils in the school, 528 pupils were girls.

A mother of a Pupil of Rimawa model primary school and a beneficiary of the Cash Transfer Programme, Hauwa Rafila said when she received her cash transfer for her daughter; all items of indirect cost to education such as socks, school bag, school sandals were bought.

Out of the money they gave us we bought all the school things needed including school sandals, socks and other things like bag we want to use the remaining money to be buying detergent that they will use to be washing their uniforms and I have also started small business so that I can support my daughter’s education and as well take care of the family.”

The Headmaster of Rimawa model primary school ,Yusuf Ahmad said before the cash transfer programme in the goronyo local government and other communities around the school, girls enrolment was just 200 and within two years of it implementation, the school now have close to 600 girls in school.

Before the cash transfer programme, the female children’s attendance was very low but based on the cash transfer enrolment has been increased, we had less than 200 female pupils before the cash transfer and now with two years we have girls enrolment almost 600″

” CTP has allowed a lot of children to come to school because before they most engage in Hawking for their parents but now they have stopped and we now see the female children in school” Yusuf added.

Between 2014 and 2016, UNICEF, with funds from Qatar foundation, DFID implemented an unconditional cash transfer programme to increase girls enrolment, retention and completion of basic education in selected schools in Sokoto and Niger state.

The Cash Transfer Program is also a part of a wider programme, GEP3 which has the target of getting more girls in target states in northern Nigeria to complete basic education and acquire skills for life and livelihoods.