The World Bank on Friday announced the approval of a fresh $700 million loan for Nigeria to assist the country in the implementation of an ongoing project – the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment.
The Bretton Woods institution, in a statement published on its website, disclosed that the loan would help to scale up the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment programme, whose goal is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted states.
It further clarified: “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.
“In the seven AGILE programme 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 programme, over 5,000 classrooms have been renovated and over 250,000 eligible girls have received scholarships.
“The AGILE programme 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 bank added.
Commenting on the funding support by the development finance institution, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, pointed out 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”, the banker added.
The World Bank stated that aside from the girls that would benefit from the financing, others include over 15 million students and beneficiaries, such as teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff in existing and newly constructed schools.
In addition, it projected that the loan would extend the implementation of the project to 18 states and help the country to achieve better education and health outcomes for girls.