Kaduna State Government in partnership with two Non Governmental Organizations, Mercy Corps and Kindling Hope Across Nations (KHAN) has launched the second phase of Educating Nigerian Girls In New Enterprise, (ENGINE II) programme, aimed at improving the lives of less privileged girl-child.

The Initiative is basically to empower no fewer than 4,750 marginalized In-School and Out of School Girls in the state through the ENGINE II programme funded by the UK Department For International Development Fund (DFID).

According to the Executive Director of KHAN Initiative, Mr Kizito Andah, the programme will enable all girls whose schooling had been altered to build their functional literacy and numeracy skills, while building assets and diversifying their income sources.

The director stated that the platform will provide the In-School Girls an opportunity to transit to the next phase of education or complete their current education cycle. For the Out-of -school girls, he said the platform will have give the girls an opportunity to access second chance education, such that they will return to formal schools to complete their studies.

Andah who spoke to newsmen shortly after the program was launched in Kaduna said, in its first phase, over 24,000 marginalized girls between the ages of 16 to 19 were supported to improve their learning outcomes and economic status.

“Building on the success of its first phase, ENGINE II aims at helping all marginalized Nigerian girls to transform their future by fulfilling their potential in education and in work, while giving outreach and specialized support to ENGINE I girls,” the director added.

In her opening remarks, National Program Manager of ENGINE II, Shweta Shah, said the second project is intended to improve social, literary and entrepreneurial skills of the girl-child, adding that “the girls were selected on the basis of marginalization criteria.”

He continued “Some of them are extremely poor and can’t afford to go to school, some due to poverty pulled out of school and are sent to hawk on the street,” she added.

The programme manager also disclosed that “we are working with government on policies implementation to remove the barriers which girls are facing in and out of school, to address issues like poverty, access to quality education and facilities in school.”

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Alhaji Jaafaru Sani, said the ENGINE II programme will enable remarkable improvement in number of girl-child enrollment for primar , secondary and tertiary education.

Commending the initiative, the commissioner added that to make the project sustainable and successful, factors preventing girls from completing their education must be addressed.

He recalled that the state government is currently restructuring schools to make them more conducive for the students.

According to him, schooling and learning are two different things. When a child does not have required facilities for him/her to learn, chances are that the rate of drop out will increase.