The World Bank has sanctioned a substantial $700 million loan to fortify educational and empowerment endeavors for adolescent girls in Nigeria. This boost in financial support is geared towards enhancing the ongoing initiative, the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment.
The overarching goal of this initiative is to enhance secondary education opportunities for girls, with a particular focus on marginalized groups such as out-of-school girls, married girls, and those with disabilities. This initiative aims to address the significant challenge of a large number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, estimated to be between 12 to 15 million, predominantly in Northern Nigeria.
Moreover, the loan will amplify the project’s reach from the current seven states to an additional eleven states, significantly widening its impact. In the seven states where the AGILE program is currently in operation, the number of girls attending secondary schools has risen from around 900,000 to over 1.6 million.
Notably, the AGILE program has already demonstrated its efficacy by renovating over 5,000 classrooms, awarding scholarships to more than 250,000 eligible girls, and upgrading facilities with improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) amenities. The program also includes provisions for life skills, systems strengthening, and advocacy, all of which contribute to removing barriers that hinder girls’ education.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, emphasized the critical importance of closing gender gaps in economic empowerment through education and skills development. Recognizing Nigeria’s forthcoming status as one of the world’s youngest and largest working populations, investing in the education and empowerment of adolescent girls is essential for the country’s overall economic prospects and growth.
This funding isn’t limited to the benefit of girls alone. It will extend its impact to over 15 million students, encompassing teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff within both existing and newly established schools. The new initiative aims to enhance education and healthcare outcomes for girls across 18 states in Nigeria.
This marks the third significant loan facility approved under the administration of Bola Tinubu, with prior loans directed towards fortifying Nigeria’s power sector and driving women’s empowerment.