The Niger State government, with support from the Federal Government’s At-Risk Project (ARC-P), says it will empower 125,000 out-of-school children roaming the streets of the northcentral state.
Amina Bello, the Niger State first lady, explained that the project would be implemented across the 25 local government areas in the state. She stated this yesterday in Minna, the state capital, during a two-day stakeholders workshop on the implementation of the At-Risk children program.
“This project would be implemented as a program in 25 local government areas in the state and 1,250 youths would be trained as facilitators that would monitor and mentor the vulnerable children on lifetime skills,” said Bello.
She further explained that the “project will be implemented in two batches, 1,250 unemployed youths trained as facilitators, and each of them will be assigned 50 children in the first batch and another 50 children in the second to mentor them on life skills.”
The project was an intervention “that offers a multi-dimensional broad-spectrum approach to address the about 13.2 million out-of-school children as estimated by UNICEF in Nigeria.”
According to her, the northern part of the country, including Niger, has been devastated, accounting for 69 per cent of the disadvantaged children scattered across the region.
She added that the government was committed to seeking innovative approaches to promote inclusion and equity in access to education and leverage digital innovation opportunities. This, she said, was to ensure the empowerment of the girl child and other underrepresented groups.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Matane, applauded the federal government for establishing the project meant to provide solutions to the documented vulnerabilities of children lacking essential social protection across an array of needs.
He also gave the assurance that the state government would support the existing state initiatives and programs to provide support and strengthen efforts for effective implementation of the programs in the state.
Also, Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, in her address said the project targeted vulnerable groups to address their challenges.
This was expected to be done using a roadmap developed by Niger State with data to equip children with life skills to make them self-reliant, according to Uwais.