A loan of $700 million has been approved for Nigeria by the World Bank. The loan will be to improve the education sector and financially assist the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE).
The communique reads, “The World Bank approved additional financing of $700m for Nigeria to scale up the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment program whose goal is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted states . The additional financing will scale up project activities from the current seven states to eleven additional states and increase the targeted beneficiaries to include out-of-school girls, those who are married, and those who have disabilities.”
The communique also revealed that Nigeria has about 12 to 15 million out-of-school group children, who are mainly in the Northern part of the country. Adding that approximately 1 million children were affected by the growing insecurity around educational institutions between 2020-2021.
The communique further added “In the seven AGILE program implementing states – Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Plateau – the number of girls in secondary schools has increased from about 900,000 to over 1.6 million. Under the program, over 5,000 classrooms have been renovated and over 250,000 eligible girls have received scholarships.
The AGILE program has supported the construction and rehabilitation of WASH facilities in secondary schools and the installation of computers and solar panels which make attending school more convenient and conducive for both girls and boys. Life skills, systems strengthening, and advocacy are other key aspects of the program which address social norms impeding girls’ education.
The communique concluded by saying that the funds, apart from assisting the girls, would also aid about 15 million students. This includes teachers, administrators, and staff of old and newly established educational institutions. The funds will also expand to over 18 states with a focus on advancing education and healthcare products for girls in the country.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria expressed that “Closing the gender gaps in economic empowerment by ensuring girls have access to education and skills is key for Nigeria’s development and economic prosperity. Nigeria’s working population will soon be one of the youngest and largest around the world, which means that investing in adolescent girls is imperative when addressing overall economic prospects and growth.”