SDGs Blog Series – Reducing the Rate of Female Dropouts to Balance the Gender Gap

Author: Fatimah Sanni (Nigeria)

The United Nations and all its affiliates are doing a tremendous job of being available to children all round the world as best as they can be, and it’s quite motivating to know that there is a higher body that pulls some of these little strings that holds humanity together.

Project Site and Background

Name of school: LEA nomadic primary school, Kuruduma 1 Asokoro. Abuja.

Visitation: by YAgeAfrica, Abuja. Nigeria.

Number of girls: 30 girls 

Age: 9-11 years

Problems b4a

Child marriage

Child marriage is still a menace to the society especially in the northern part of Nigeria where it can be seen as a religious activity or as a means of debt settlement. Child marriage  disrupts  the educational and psychological well being of the child. A child may not have received any orientation on menstrual hygiene and sexual education because it is not part of the societal or educational structure to educate girls on sexuality, putting children at risk of illnesses, ill gotten information and the spread of myths. This prevents good health and well being.

Lack of  Resources

Some examples of the lack of resources are: clean water and toilet facilities, books, sanitary wares, school without clean water supply and toilet facilities and lack of safe places to change sanitary wares for girls. The lack of menstrual health management encourages early dropping out of school once puberty kicks in, depriving girls of their educational rights and interests. This weakens gender equality measures  and the gap is widened between males and females because of unequal opportunities.

Partnership for the goals

The success rate of some of the United Nations and its affiliates for example: the WASH(Water Sanitation and Hygiene program), MHM(Menstrual health management) or SBHE( Sexuality Based Health Education), SLM app( Surfing The Labour Market app) and HIV and AIDS prevention mechanisms have been able to effectively provide help when needed especially in areas with ongoing crises and also hard-to-reach areas.

b4bSolutions

None of these problems has a quick fix solution, they need ready and available tools to help raise awareness and maintain the reorientation process.

Child marriage

With the help of a well designed and crafted curriculum by YAgeAfrica, which we are continually testing and improving through the SERAT( Sexuality Review and Assessment Tool) approved by Unesco, we are helping girls in our local community refocus on themselves especially through:

-Age appropriate sexuality based education; 

-Menstrual and hygiene management;

-Self discovery, self discipline and self help information. 

And yes, there is room for improvement, especially in the area of trained personnel  power to reach our girls with quality educational materials.

Lack of Resources

Lack of Resources such as books, clean water and toilet facilities. Due to lack of funding, we were not able to provide toilet facilities for the school, but we are able to educate them on the importance of hygiene and self discipline.

We are working on an unpublished book, which is designed in the form of a story to capture the minds of the girls and in the process introduce them to some of the important topics that are hardly discussed, helping them to approach these topics in a self assertive way.

We are also developing a game app to help guide children on career paths, in an accessible manner, by deliberately putting before them things they need to make informed career decisions..

Partnerships for the goal

We would love to learn how to do more for our communities. We want to equip our local schools and communities with resources and personnel but we don’t have the ability to achieve this feat alone. Some of us may not even have the credentials to seek for funds, in as much as the government and international bodies are doing what they can, it is not enough to depend wholly on them. The support needed to spread and maintain this scheme is capital intensive, especially when it comes to production and distribution of materials like books, sanitary and health maintenance materials.b4c

We keep doing the little we do to start the change we desire, and we would love for us to partner together to bring these tools to the hands of our girls and make our society a better place for all. 

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