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Teenage Network urges Nasarawa Government to implement policies to promote adolescent mothers’ education

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By our reporter, Lafia

Teenage Network, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has urged Nasarawa State Government and stakeholders to design and implement inclusive policy of school re -entry guideline to boost adolescent mothers’ re -integration into schools.

Olanike Timipa-Uge, Executive Director of the organisation, made the appeal during the inauguration of 15 Girl “Education Champions” on Wednesday in Lafia.

Timipa -Uge said the appeal became necessary considering the alarming number of out of school children, especially adolescent mothers in Nasarawa state.

According to her, the state ministry of education revealed that out of school children account for about 15 percent of the total state population, with a total of 430,787 children adolescent, 58 percent of them are girls and 10.5 percent of them are adolescent mothers.

She said the 15 trained adolescent girls by Teenage Network would serve as “Girls Education Champions” to advocate for issues that concern them for progress of the state.

“My appeal to the Nasarawa State government is to give consideration to the needs of adolescent mothers, you know, these girls are out of school and out of skills, because when they are forced to drop out of school, they didn’t acquire any skills.

“This is going to have a ripple effect on Nasarawa state economy because we are going to have more number of girls who are financially dependent on people around them, and it’s also going to increase the rate of sexual and gender-based violence.

” It is therefore not right for us to force girls to drop out of school as a result of teenage pregnancy, particularly when education is human right and should not be taken away from anyone as a punishment, ” she said.

The Executive Director said that Teenage Network was also supporting the State Ministry of Education to develop a school reentry guideline for out-of-school adolescent mothers to provide them with second chance to go back to school.

Timipa -Uge, while commended Nasarawa state government for demonstrating a significant level of support towards girls’ education, called on parents to give adequate support to teenage mothers to become useful to the society.

Also speaking, Aishatu Aliyu, Project Coordinator, Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), represented by the Deputy Project Coordinator, Juliana Polycarp, commended the Teenage Network for the initiative.

She said the newly inaugurated education champion would complement AGILE’s effort, which aimed at addressing the multiple constraints that girl child faced through a variety of sectoral interventions in the state.

Mr Sylvester Yakubu, Director Schools, State Ministry of Education, represented by the Head of Gender Desk at the ministry, Mrs Abigail Abe, appreciated the organisation for partnering the state government to ensure quality access to education for adolescent mothers.

He said that the state government through the ministry would continue to support policies and programmes aimed at improving the quality and standard of education for its citizens.

Some of the newly inaugurated Girls Education Champions who spoke during the programme; Millicent Chinyam and Grace Anyuabaga, urged the government and stakeholders to work together to implement policies aimed at promoting adolescent mothers’ education.

The Teenage Network is implementing one year project in Nasarawa state, aimed at accessing quality education and health for adolescents girls to serve as drivers for sustainable development through quality education, with support from Rise Up.

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