At least 400 girls have benefitted from the United Nations Children Fund UNICEF scholarship scheme and vocational training on various skills which began last year in Gombe, Alhaji Isa Yahaya, UNICEF Coordinator in the state has said.
He said 300 were schooling on UNICEF scholarship at the Federal College of Education (Technical), FCE (T), Gombe while the others who had hitherto been commercial sex workers were trained on different skills and supported with tools of the trade they learnt.
Alhaji Yahaya who spoke in Gombe on Friday, said the scholarship beneficiaries were secondary school certificate holders who were drawn from the remotest villages across the state.
“Before picking them, we had to make sure they are truly from remote areas and that people know them in those communities”, he explained. The Coordinator said the aim was to use them as models for the promotion of girl-child education while at the same time fulfilling the target of having more female teachers in the state’s educational system.
“The girls would be deployed to their locality to teach after graduation for parents and the girl-child to see and use as role models”, Alhaji Yahaya said.
He said they hoped to continue with the programme and that they were collaborating with the State Universal Education Board, SUBEB and the Federal College of Education (Technical), Gombe. The UNICEF Coordinator said commercial sex workers which numbered 100 at the start were drawn from across the state, adding that the final graduands were 80 because some refused to continue.
He said beneficiaries were trained on skills like soap making, pomade making, knitting, sewing, tailoring and others while those who wanted to marry were supported to do so through the maiden Zawarawa marriage conducted in the state last year. “Before enrolling them, we sampled properly and made sure they were those who were frustrated into commercial sex business and wanted out where possible” the UNICEF Coordinator explained.
He said the aim was to enable them gain financial independence, adding that available reports indicated that beneficiaries were doing well in their different areas.
Published: 06 Jun 2015. By Segun Awofadeji
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