Niger govt to support 125,000 out-of-school children

Amina Bello of Niger state

The Niger State government says it will use the At-Risk Project (ARC-P) of the federal government to empower at least 125,000 out-of-school children in the state.

Amina Bello, the wife of the state governor, said this at a two-day stakeholders workshop on the implementation of the At-Risk children programme in Minna on Tuesday.

Ms Bello explained that the project would be implemented across the 25 local government areas in the state, where 1,250 youths would be trained as facilitators to mentor and monitor vulnerable children on lifetime skills.

“The project will be implemented in two batches, 1,250 unemployed youths will be trained as facilitators, and each of them will be assigned 50 children in the first batch and another 50 children in the second to mentor them on lifetime skills,” she explained.

She explained further that the project was an intervention “that offers a multi-dimensional broad-spectrum approach to address the about 13.2 million out-of-school children as estimated by UNICEF in Nigeria”.

According to her, the northern part of the country, including Niger, has been devastated, accounting for 69 per cent of the disadvantaged children scattered across the region.

She stressed that the state government was committed to seeking innovative approaches to promote inclusion and equity in access to education and leverage digital innovation opportunities.

This, she said, was to ensure the empowerment of the girl-child and other underrepresented groups.

Earlier in his remarks, Ahmed Matane, the Secretary to the State Government, lauded the federal government for initiating the project meant to provide solutions to the documented vulnerabilities of children lacking essential social protection across an array of needs.

He gave assurance that the state government would leverage the existing state initiatives and programmes to provide support and strengthen efforts for effective implementation of the project in the state.

In her address, Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, said that the project targeted vulnerable groups to address their challenges.

Ms Uwais said this was expected to be done using a roadmap developed by Niger with data to equip children with lifetime skills to make them self-reliant.