Participants at a meeting in Katsina State have advocated an end to child marriage and the promotion of the girl-child education in the state, as this would tackle the spate of out-of-school children in the country.
The call was made by stakeholders at a one-day meeting organised by the Netherlands Embassy through the Save the Children International (SCI) on the role of religious and traditional rulers in promoting girl-child education and averting child marriage.
At the meeting, the stakeholders brainstormed on how to stem the scenario of child marriage and enhance girl-child education in the state and the country in general.
One of the participants, Ladidi Iro, attributed the menace of child marriage bedevilling the nation to poverty, traditional background, religious belief and lack of awareness by government on the importance of girl-child education at the grassroots level, calling for attitudinal change.
Another participant, Hajiya Binta Hussaini, called on government to intensify efforts in enhancing girl-child education in order to avert child marriage and tackle the wave of out-of-school children in the state.
According to her, “The problem of girl-child education can only be addressed if parents allow their children to acquire both Western and Islamic education. So, our religious and traditional leaders should encourage parents to do the needful.”
Similarly, Bilkisu Muhammed Kaikai admonished traditional, religious and non-governmental organisations to create awareness to parents on the need for girl-child education, stressing that “this is the only way we can address child marriage”.
Presenting an overview of the project in the state, the Project Manager of SCI, Mrs. Binta Hussaini, said the project targets parents, husband’s of married adolescent girls, mother-in-laws, religious and traditional leaders, children’s parliaments and health workers, among others.
The project manager said as part of efforts to protect children’s rights in the state, SCI has advocated the domestication and implementation of the Child’s Right Act (CRA).
“We supported the state Ministry of Women Affairs to adopt the National Strategy to end child marriage in the state. We are also working towards the retention, transition and completion of secondary school for girls. We also campaigned for positive shifts in the attitudes of opinion leaders towards ensuring that children are equipped with the right tools to live out their full potential,” she said.
On his part, the Communication and Advocacy Officer of SCI, Mr. Effiong Akpan, urged the participants to encourage young girls in the state to embrace Western education to tackle child marriage.