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WINET, Spanish Move Campaign To End Early Child Marriage In Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Education they say, remains a veritable instrument and bedrock for the advancement of any society hence, it’s the best legacy parents or caring guidance can bequeath on their children or wards, whether male or female.

It’s against the backdrop of the vitality of this sector which equally provides the platform for human capital development that Nations of the globe, be it developed, or developing always invest heavily in the area.

But regrettably, despite remaining the best way to guarantee a better future for the children, especially in the 21st century, the issue of school drop- out and early marriage among young girls, particularly in developing countries of the world, Enugu State and Nigeria inclusive, has remained alarming and a serious source of concern in the society.

However, in Enugu state, South East Nigeria, there has been interventions in the promotion of the girl child education by some non -governmental organizations (NGOs), which sometimes undertake such project as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

One of such known Enugu based NGOs that had always be at the forefront of championing and changing the narratives on issues relating to Women’s rights generally, and girl child, including certain barriers capable of hindering their educational pursuit is Women Information NetWork WINET, which is also a media focused outfit.

The organization, under the headship of a seasoned Broadcast Journalist and renowned administrator, Mrs. Miriam Menkiti, had since its establishment in January 2000, and formal registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2002, Continued to give hope to the hopeless girl child, particularly those in the rural Communities that may have dropped out of school and ventured into early and unplanned marriages, while some faces the challenge of unwanted pregnancy.

As the name implies, since inception, WINET has continued to work towards the dissemination of information to promote women and girls’ rights, gender equality, amongst other issues concerning the women folk.

The NGO, carries out training for women and girls, conduct media advocacy campaigns and disseminates information on all issues relating to the advancement of women’s right in the society.

It has continued to sustained enlightenment campaigns on several issues affecting Women and girl child, such as campaign to end Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV).

As part of its commitment in encouraging and promoting the girl child education in Enugu state, just recently, 9th, November 2022 to be precise, WINET, in collaboration with her foreign partner, Mundo Cooperante of Spain, put smiles on the faces of a total of 106 female students of Comprehensive Secondary School Akpasha in Nkanu West local government area of the state, via award of scholarship to them.

The gesture no doubt, would go a long way in encouraging the benefiting students in taking their studies more seriously as well as erased from their minds the ugly primitive early marriage syndrome that is synonymous with most rural communities.

It would be recalled however, that the organization had in the past carried out similar gesture in some Enugu schools.

Speaking at the Comprehensive Secondary School, Akpasha outing, Executive Director of WINET, Mrs. Miriam Menkiti, said ” we are here with the kind permission of the Hon. Commissioner for Education of the state, Professor Uchenna Eze and Chairman of the state post primary school Management Board PPSMB, Dr. Mrs. Favour Ugwuanyi.

She explained that “In furtherance of our activities under the Right to be A Girl – Projects to End Girl Child Marriage, we are here today to present one academic year scholarship (2022-2023) under the project titled “Support for 128 Female Students’ Education in Enugu State, Nigeria” funded by Mundo Cooperante of Spain to one hundred and six (106) female students.

Menkiti hinted that “As a member of the international coalition of organizations called Girls Not Brides, we are here to support the retention of girls in schools for their education.

“We do not want them to be given out in marriage at a tender age because, they are girls and not yet matured enough to be brides.

According to her, “This is the reason we insisted that parents of the selected female students must sign commitment letters that they will not be withdrawn from school for any purpose during the period of our scholarship.

“We urge parents not to discriminate against the girl child. They should send all girl children to school like the boys.

The Executive Director disclosed that “the scholarship entails payment of school fees for the 2022/2023 academic year for the selected 106 female students of Comprehensive Secondary School Akpasha.

“Meaning that we will pay school fees, examination fees (Basic Education Certificate Examination –BECE), West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) fees and State Based Management Committee (SBMC) levies.

“We will present the students with school bags, Mathematical sets and pens. I am glad to inform you that we have already paid all the fees for the girls for this first term.

She added that: “We appeal to the benefiting female students to make the best use of the opportunity offered by WINET and Mundo Cooperante to study hard.

“We thank Mundo Cooperante for funding the project. Our Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning officer, Mrs. Chinelo Dim will visit the school monthly to check the progress of the students.

“I appeal to the Principal, Vice Principal and teachers to cooperate with us in our monitoring exercise. We thank the Principal, Dr. Ada Ugwu in a special way because she has been very supportive of this project.

In an interview with African Examiner, principal of the school, Dr. Mrs Ada Ugwu, expressed appreciation to WINET and its foreign partner, for the kind gesture, adding that the support “is a morale boaster to the students.

She said: “Am highly delighted over this gesture by WINET and her Spanish partner, because it’s a morale boaster and encouragement to our Students and their parents.

“So, on behalf of the school management, I want to say a very big thank you to these two organizations for remembering our school and children.

Responding on behalf of her colleagues, the Deputy Senior Prefect of the school, who is also a beneficiary, Miss Faith Nwachukwu, thanked WINET for the kind gesture, promising that they will not take the support for granted.

The event came to climax with the presentation of assorted educational materials such as Mathematical sets, note books, school bags, pen among others to the over excited students who could not hold back their joy, as they sang various songs for WINET, in appreciation of what the organization did for them.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=82902

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