AGI is a two year (2016 and 2017) UNFPA funded project, with funding from Canadian Government that aims to improve learning outcomes of adolescent girls from rural areas and their life skills in primary 5 and 6 using safe space methodology. The focus of the initiative will be 10-14 year old girls. The improved learning outcome is expected to serve as incentives against withdrawals of girls from schools for marriage. In addition, Nana identifies girls that are vulnerable to early marriage and engages their parents, especially mothers to allow them to progress to secondary schools. To further incentivize the parents and the girls, Nana has engaged the government to admit the girls into some of the best secondary schools in the state where the children of the elites attend. This project is implemented in 52 primary schools in 5 LGAs, Kebbi state. The project is working with 1880 girls.

Nana believes that investing in girls’ education is the most leveraged and cost-effective investment that a society and a nation can make. Evidence has shown that the spin-off benefits of educating these girls will have a lasting impact on entire communities. For example the Nigerian Demographic Health Survey of 2013 documented that family of women with some level of education fare better from many angles than those without.

  • Women with secondary education in Nigeria are 3 times more likely to make decision over their health (59.4%) than with no education (19.0%)
  • Women are likely to marry late: average age at first marriage is 15.3years with Zamfara 14.4 years. It rises with secondary education to 21years (NDHS, 2013).
  • Similarly, average number of children born to women 40-49 years is much high for no education 7.3 children compare to those with secondary 4.9 children and likely to have fewer children with fertility rate of no education being 6.9 and secondary education is 4.6.
  • In addition, children under 5 less likely to die or be stunted if mothers are educated with under 5 mortality of 180/1000 for mothers with no education and 91/1000 with secondary education.
  • Women with education are more likely to access ANC, no education is 57.7% and secondary education is 8.4%
  • Women with education are more likely to vaccinate children: no education is 6.9% and with secondary education is 46.6%.
  • More likely to deliver with Skill Birth Attendant and with no education is 11.7% and with secondary education is 71.7%

So, the goal of the Adolescent Girl Initiative is to contribute towards improving the social, economic and health wellbeing of rural and low-income urban adolescent girls in Northern Nigeria and build their assets through increased access to education, reproductive health information and services and life-skills that would positively impact on health choices. The specific objectives of the program are to:

  • Dramatically increase girls’ secondary school enrollment, performance, and rates of graduation, thus delaying age of marriage;
  • Dramatically expand opportunities for girls to acquire a broad range of relevant SRH and other life skills (e.g., self-expression and negotiation);
  • Develop leadership opportunities for adolescent girls;
  • Enhance assets of girls including advocacy and communication;
  • Refine and improve program effectiveness (through operations research); and,
  • Train and mentor female teachers.

The core components of the Adolescent Girl Initiative are:

Component 1: Reducing Social and Economic Barriers to Secondary School Enrollment and Completion

o   Focused Community Engagement:

o   Subsidized School Fees:

Component 2: Enhancing Core Academic Competencies, Life Skills and Relevance of the Curriculum

o   Mentored Girls’ Safe Space Clubs:

Enhanced capacity of female teachers