UNICEF: Cash Transfer Programme Reaches Over 23,000 Girls in Niger, Sokoto

As Enrolment Increases by 61.8 Percent

By Gift Samuel, Ama Benjamine

ABUJA: The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF), has disclosed that its Cash Transfer Programme (CTP)has reached 23,000 girls in Niger and Sokoto states.

UNICEF also noted that, it is dedicated to ensuring that all children can enjoy their right to a quality education, from early learning opportunities, that lay the groundwork for success in school, all the way through secondary school.

The Chief of Education, UNICEF Nigeria, Terry Durnnian, made these disclosures on Thursday in Abuja, at a briefing to launch a report titled: “Impact Evaluation of UNICEF Nigeria Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 ( GEP3 ) Cash Transfer Programme in Niger and Sokoto states”.

Durnnian stated that enrolment of girls in schools in Niger state increased by 29.4 percent while Sokoto state increased by 32. 4 percent.

According to him, “I am delighted to be here today to talk about one of our education interventions that has successfully managed to remove some of these barriers and given more girls and boys in Sokoto, Niger, Kebbi and Zamfara states an opportunity to go to school and stay in school.

“The programme is specifically designed to address the poverty-related reasons preventing children to enrol and stay in school. It gives families an opportunity to cover direct and opportunity costs related to their children’s, especially girls’ education. These costs include cost of uniforms, textbooks, learning materials and the lost benefit that the family will miss from the child’s contribution to the family income by going to school.

“I am delighted to tell you that to date more than 23, 000 girls have benefitted from the programme in Niger and Sokoto states. The girls’ enrolment rate has increased by 29.4% in Niger and 32.4% in Sokoto. Both state governments have continued to rollout the programme and are successfully reaching more children” he ended.

Also speaking, Lead Social Adviser, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Mr Nard Huijbregts, pointed out that the CTP has helped to increase labour market participation in Nigeria and across Africa.

“People think that the beneficiaries of CTP sit on their bum all day, and giving them money will only increase their dependence, and therefore, the programme is a waste of money. But this is not so” he clarified.

Speaking earlier, Senior Associate, CAPRA International, Prof. John Adeoti,said that Girls’ Education Project (GEP3) was implemented in Niger and Sokoto States for two sessions, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, with the main objective to increase girls’ enrolment and attendance in selected schools in Niger and Sokoto States.

Prof. Adeoti further said that research made by CAPRA on CTP came up with valuable lessons which are that, “Strong political will on the part of the government is a necessary condition for a successful implementation of the CTP programme; the Cash transfer payment should be timely and regular, otherwise, the CT money may be diverted by beneficiaries to expenditures that are not related to girls’ schooling”.

The CTP is being implemented in Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states. It provides 665 under-privileged girls the opportunity to enrol and also remain in schools.

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