HILWA 1By Leah Thomas

Wife of Niger State Governor, Dr. Amina Abubakar Bello has commended women for coming with the idea of bringing together prestigious women from northern Nigeria to make a positive impact.

Dr. Amina gave the commendation at the opening of five day National Capacity and Advocate Meeting for members of High Level Women Advocate (HiLWA) in collaboration with UNICEF and support from Niger State Government which took place in Minna recently.

She said HiLWA and RAiSE Foundation are related in their aims and objectives and her Foundation believe that no woman is expected to die from pregnancy related cases, stating that Nigeria is the second to India in the world of the number of women who die, mostly the uneducated are the ones who die as a result of maternal mortality and northern Nigeria has the worst statistic on maternal mortality and education, the coloration between education and women dying is consistent all the time, that’s why we try to prevent maternal and child death.

“One of the things we do is to ensure that the girl child is educated, because it is a circle, if you have an educated woman, she will get empowered and will be able to make decision for her health that will save her life and that of her child. One of the intervention we do also is the ensure that girl child enrolment and retention, the programme we do specifically is the girl mentorship programme, where we look for women just like HiLWA or people that has gone to school who will come and be mentors for the girls in secondary school with the aim of making them understand the importance of education and how education can help them achieve the best that they can be for themselves.” She reiterated.

Dr. Amina said that, there are various reasons why our girls go out of school, one of them is poverty, parents rather get the boys to school and the girls are married off, the mentorship programme is to allow the women develop love for education so that they can look for it when the opportunity presents itself.

She added that, RAiSE Foundation and HiLWA are practically doing the same thing, advocating for the girl child, that is why it is easy for her to support HiLWA because she has been working very closely with them because she believe in the same thing and hope that they will be able to improve in our statistics here in Niger State.

She said, “I was very happy with the last report HiLWA brought on the enrolment and retention of girls in school, I believe that with the way HiLWA has been going and other interventions that the state government has been putting in place in terms of renovations and capacity building for school teachers.

In her opening remark, UNICEF Education Specialist, Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, said, HiLWA are women of high level, influential, respected and respected in the society, UNICEF discover that the reason why girl child don’t remain in school is not as a result of poverty alone but the fact that the role models for these girls were not organized, so we decided to look for women in northern states of Nigeria who are commissioners, directors and other influential women who can stand for these girls.

She added that, UNICEF went to each state to identify these women, 10 from each state who will come together and help to become super role models for our girls, they will relate with them, adopt two girls from the rural area to stay with them for some days in order to learn how the mentor, how to manage her job, her role as a wife and that of a mother and in doing that the girl will actually understand that a woman can become successful, this intervention is called G4G and we currently have 14 states in northern Nigeria who are doing well.

Mrs. Azuka pointed out that, this came about under the UNICEF Girl Education Project 3 (GEP3) in the process of looking for ways to ensure that girls come to school, stay in school and complete their education because it was realized that the number of girls enrolled in school usual decrease when they get to primary four, so we came up with this initiative which brought about HiLWA..

The president, Niger State HiLWA, Hajiya Hassana Adamu commended the wife of the governor for her love and passion for women and children, and the governor for his passion for women by appointing a woman as the head of service who is also a member of HiLWA, four women as commissioners in various ministries in the state and three women as special advisers.

She said, the responsibility of HiLWA was to advocate and sensitize on the enrolment of the girl child in school which has already started with the visit to eight emirate councils, the legislative and the executives in Niger State in order to see how we can come up with a plan to increase the enrolment, retention and completion of school by the girl child.