The wife of Kebbi State Governor, Zainab Bagudu, has advocated for more investment in girl-child education as a tool needed to reduce the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in the country.
Mrs Bagudu made the remark during the 5th anniversary of the Green Heart Impact Foundation, GHIF, in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that GHIF is an NGO which focuses on taking girl-child hawkers off the streets, enrol them in schools and also empower their mothers in order to tackle the root cause of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
She linked lack of basic education among girls of reproductive age to Nigeria’s high rate of maternal and infant mortality.
“If women are properly educated the horrible statistics coming from the North would be drastically reduced.
“Women do not go to hospital to deliver. They do not use their mosquito nets. Even though the government spends so much buying these mosquito nets, they do not sleep under them, because of poor education, some of them don’t know what to do with it,” she said.
Mrs Bagudu said about 100,000 people in sub-saharan Africa can be saved from losing their lives to maternal mortality and other ailments, if a woman completes primary education.
She said an NGO like the Green Heart Impact Foundation should be partnered to reduce illiteracy rate among girls in the country.
“Things like what the Green Heart Impact Foundation does is what we really need to get back to.
“Going back to our grassroots, reaching out to those rural people and educating them,” Mrs Bagudu said.
The Founder of GHIF, Munira Suleiman-Nalaraba said her Foundation decided to focus on girl-child education and women empowerment owing to the alarming rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria, which is about 10.5 million children according to UNICEF.
She said though its ‘Books Over Trays’ project and a No-To-Girl-Child-Hawking campaign which started in 2017, GHIF has taken 76 girls off the streets from seven states, enrolled them in schools and empower their mothers.
“Green Heart Impact Foundation hopes to train 1,000 girls in schools every year and equally empower their mothers,” Suleiman-Nalaraba said.
She said that GHIF, within the last five years, had helped to set free more than 120 prison inmates who were jailed for their inability to meet up with their bail conditions, paid medical bills for 500 people, attended to orphans and internally displaced persons.
She also said the Foundation had trained 750 young people, free of charge, at its two computer training centres in Kano and Kaduna.