UNICEF, Katsina State provide learning opportunity to over 20,000 Out- of School children

By Rosemary Ogbonnaya

Katsina State Government, UNICEF and partners today launched a cash transfer programme which will provide learning opportunities for over 20,000 out-of-school children in the state and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of beneficiaries and their households.

It was gathered that Katsina currently has about 536,132 out of school children.

UNICEF disclosed this at the launch of the cash transfer programme in Katsina State.

The cash transfer programme will provide access to learning for the beneficiaries and help reduce the number of 536,132 children curr out of school in Katsina State.

Speaking during the launch, the Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Honourable Aminu- Bello Maisari said, “The partnership between Katsina State Government and UNICEF has yielded many positive results, not just in the education sector, but in other sectors of the state.

“We are grateful to UNICEF and the Educate A Child,EAC,project for the funds. The Programme Implementation Unit for the cash transfer programme will monitor the programme closely and ensure that the beneficiaries make judicious use of the resources,” added governor Maisari.

“Through the cash transfer programme, a total of ₦332,832,000 will be disbursed to 20,802 out-of-school children (OOSC) and Almajiris in Kafur, Mani and Safana LGAs of Katsina State. The funds will be disbursed through 10,557 female parents/caregivers to increase school enrolment and attendance rates for boys and girls.

“Each female parent/caregiver will receive N8,000 per tranche twice in 2022, amounting to N16,000.per beneficiary.”

According to him, the cash transfer programme will also ensure that beneficiaries are enrolled and retained in any form of organized school, including Integrated Qur’anic Schools, IQS, and provided with literacy and numeracy skills linked to employability and livelihood schemes.

“The cash transfer programme is being delivered together with the birth registration programme which has so far seen registration of 20,400 children. Social workers will be equipped with required skills to track and reunify children living on the street or similar situations with their families, thereby ensuring family-based care for children. Already, 50 Mallams of Tsangaya schools in three LGAs have been trained on safeguarding and keeping children safe from violence and abuse in their facilities.

“We are thankful to our partners, the Educate A Child Project, for funds for the cash transfer programme in Katsina State. The take-off of the cash transfer programme provides the opportunity to take children off the streets back to the classrooms where every school age child should be.

“We urge the government to continue to build on these interventions to ensure that every school age child is in school and learning,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

Hawkins further said that, “UNICEF is excited that with this launch, we’ll be addressing the important issues of not just access to education, but quality of learning as we focus on literacy and numeracy skills to build the foundation for employability and livelihood skills.”