Literacy Skill for The Girl Child Can Reduce World Poverty

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Investing in girls’ education is the right action to take on moral, ethical, and human rights grounds. Perhaps no other segment of our society “faces as much exploitation and injustice, and we owe girls our support as integral, yet overlooked, members of the human family. More educated girls and women aspire to become leaders and thus expand a country’s leadership and entrepreneurial talent. It is the quality of schooling that really counts; economic growth is faster when both girls and boys learn;

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Literacy Skill for The Girl Child: A Panacea for Reducing World Poverty Oyewole O. Sarumi ACC PhD Executive Director IBS Lekki Lagos

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Opening Story: Meet The 15-Year-Old From Rural Guatemala Who Addressed The U.N • When Emelin was 13 she asked the mayor of her rural Guatemalan town to find ways to help girls stay in school and get better health care. He laughed out loud. "You are wasting my time you should go home" he told Emelin and her friend Elba who had come with her. • That was then. On Tuesday of this week Emelin now 15 spoke by invitation at the United Nations in the "Every Woman Every Child" program presented as part of the Commission on the Status of Women. She sat — and spoke — alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Melinda Gates co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about the obstacles girls face in her community and how she and Elba persuaded the mayor to implement and fund policies that would help. The Gates Foundation is a funder of NPR. • "The biggest problems we face as adolescents in my community are early pregnancy childbirth sexual violation and lack of education and health care" said Emelin whose last name is not provided because of her age in the speech which she wrote and presented in Spanish. "We adolescent girls have a voice and we are going to use it.“

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What of Malala • Malala Yousafzai born July 12 1997 Mingora Swat valley Pakistan Pakistani activist who while a teenager spoke out publicly against the prohibition on the education of girls that was imposed by the Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan TTP sometimes called Pakistani Taliban. She gained global attention when she survived an assassination attempt at age 15. In 2014 Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of their efforts on behalf of children’s rights. • Consider Mariam Khalique a teacher in Pakistan who has used education to build her female students’ confidence and to encourage them to stand up for their rights. One of her pupils was the young education activist Malala Yousafzai whose global advocacy work is proof of the transformative power of quality schooling.

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Opening Thought 1: • “Literacy is at the core of sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems. Literacy builds the foundation for freedom from poverty and freedom from oppression. ” - Former First Lady Laura Bush.

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Opening Thought 2: • What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated their families will flourish. If women are free from violence their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society their families will flourish. Hillary Clinton Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing 1995 as cited in Sperling Winthrop 2015 p. 12

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Definitions

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Who is the Girl-Child • The girl-child is a biological female offspring from birth to eighteen 18 years of age. This period covers the • crèche nursery or early childhood 0- 5 years • primary 6-12 years and • secondary school 12-18 years. • During this period the young child is totally under the care of the adult who may be her parents or guardians and older siblings. https://www.proshareng.com/news/Education-Knowledge/The-Value-of-Girl-Child-Education-in-Nig/41338

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https://www.proshareng.com/news/Education-Knowledge/The-Value-of-Girl-Child-Education-in-Nig/41338 The Period 0-18years for the Girl-Child • It is made up of: • infancy • childhood • early and late adolescence stages of development. • During this period the child is malleable builds and develops her personality and character. • She is very dependent on the significant others those on whom she models her behaviour through observation repetition and imitation. • Her physical mental social spiritual and emotional developments start and progress to get to the peak at the young adult stage

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Girl-Child Description • According to the society the girl child means nothing but just a doll who works at the instructions given to her. • A girl child is discriminated in both cities and villages. • The society discriminates girl child in different manners the girl child in villages is discriminated by abuse forcing to work forced to child marriage. • In cities girl child is discriminated by child labour abuse and making differences between a boy and a girl. • The people usually think that boys are better performers so the money is usually spent on boys in matters of education and schooling. • The girl child is treated in a bad manner and is discriminated in almost every house.

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The Value of Education for the Girl-Child • “If we educate a boy we educate one person. If we educate a girl we educate a family – and a whole nation.” African proverb

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Literacy: What is it • “Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning” according to UNESCO. “It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives… A literate community is a dynamic community one that exchanges ideas and engages in debate. Illiteracy however is an obstacle to a better quality of life and can even breed exclusion and violence.” • To educate means to train the mind character and abilities of individuals. Education is a fundamental human right that should be availed to all citizens irrespective of age sex and nationality.

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Literacy • But what is a high-quality education • According to Sperling and Winthrop 2015 p. 253 education experts have defined a high-quality education through three main dimensions: • a a focus on inputs • b a focus on learning outcomes • c a focus on social learning outcomes

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Social learning outcomes - SLC • Social learning outcomes is not as widely used as the first two but is of utmost importance to understanding the full ways in which education can empower girls and young women. • It means gender equality is built into definitions and measurements of educational quality Sperling Winthrop 2015 p. 253. • The last point is key since the focus here is on adolescent girls empowerment AGE in developing countries where tradition and patriarchy can be barriers to the full development of girls and women.

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The 2 Main Inequalities • There are two main inequalities as pointed out by Amartya Sen. • The educational inequality • The health inequality • These are the indicators of a woman’s status of welfare

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Girl Child Discrimination 2: • A social development report presented in 2010 to the World Bank and UNDP found that the time a female child and a male child spends on various activities is similar with the exception of domestic work and social/resting time a female child spends nearly three forth of an hour more on domestic work than a male child and therefore lesser hours of social activity/resting then boys. • Despite progress in advancing gender equity from a legal standpoint in practice many women and female children still lack opportunities and support for the socio- economic advancement

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Girl Child Discrimination 2: • Historically the inclusion of young girls and women in education has helped challenge gender stereotypes and discrimination. • This suggests that providing space for young girls to develop leadership skills through education and healthy living is important. • This can shape attitudes towards women capabilities as leaders and decision makers especially in conventionally male domains and male dominated cultures. • Because of the sex preference of male children in India female children are deemed of resources in the areas of health and education.

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Background • Sex role • Roles assigned by nature by virtue of biological and natural distinct features in a man and woman • Gender role • Societal assigned roles based on the socio- cultural beliefs and trado- religious inclinations

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Traditional belief of the girl-child • Traditionally ingrained negative and obnoxious practices • Girls used for unremunerated and invisible jobs • Girls training regarded as bad investment leading to illiteracy uninformed mind vulnerability disadvantaged in the society • Girls are seen as property: to the parent to the husband

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Human Rights of a Girl-Child • Right to freedom from discrimination based on gender age race colour language religion ethnicity or any other status. • Right to a standard of living adequate for a childs intellectual physical moral and spiritual development. • Right to a healthy and safe environment. • Right to the highest possible standard of health and to equal access to health care. • Right to equal access to food and nutrition. • Right to life and to freedom from prenatal sex selection. • Right to education.

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Human Rights of a Girl-Child • Right to freedom from cultural practices customs and traditions harmful to the child including female genital mutilation. • Right to information about health sexuality and reproduction • Right to protection from all physical or mental abuse. • Right to protection from economic and sexual exploitation prostitution and trafficking. • Right to freedom from forced or early marriage. • Right to equal rights to inheritance. • Right to express opinion about plans or decisions affecting the childs life.

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Education Statistics in Nigeria focusing on Girl- Child

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Statement of the Problem • 130 million children worldwide had no access to primary education of which 81 million are girls • More than 75 per cent of the 3.4 million children out of school are girls • In 2009 around 35 million girls were still out of school compared to 31 million boys. • Nigeria’s out-of-school children crisis has risen from 10.5million to 13.2 million with girls constituting 7.93 million 60 per cent of that population • “Poverty has a woman’s face” UNDP – 2002

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Worrisome: The Crisis - Teach for Nigeria

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Education in Commonwealth African States

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Educating Girls | HIPs

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The 4 themes for Girl- Child Development • The 4 themes will encompass what I called the 4Es of Girl-child development namely: • Empowerment • Education creating the education- empowerment link • Equality of gender and • Enabling environment leading to education- leadership/development link

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Critical Issues in Girl child Education in Nigeria

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1. Strong link between girls’ literacy rates and religious and traditional misconceptions • Various studies have shown that there is a strong link between girls’ literacy rates and religious and traditional misconceptions. • Nigeria is a very religious country many of its citizens tend to live according to the holy writings be it the Bible or Quran. That is why many households think that girls should not receive education in the same way boys do if they receive it all.

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2. Gender discrimination • Girls are discriminated based on their gender both in their communities and in schools. • Their achievements are not considered as significant as the boys’ achievements are. • Women’s history is not taught at schools. • Less attention is paid to educating girls on the topics of their bodies and their health.

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3. Early forced marriage • Girls are often forced into marrying very early. This emanates from traditional and religious views • When a girl becomes a wife at as early as 11- 12 years old she will most likely not have an opportunity to receive proper education

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4. Abuse from diverse sources • Many Nigerian girls suffer from abuse: • at home including harmful bodily practices. • From sexual abuse etc. • Girls and their parents do not feel like schools or even the trip to school every day can be safe so they avoid them altogether.

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5. Suffering from poverty • Many Nigerian families especially ones in the northern parts of the country suffer from poverty. • This means that parents tend to prioritise boys’ education in big families and neglect girls’ education completely or give it less attention than it deserves.

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6. Poverty and child labour • Girls from the poorest and rural households face the greatest disadvantages because parents are less educated and therefore may value education less. Rural communities have fewer support systems often forcing girls to work or manage their household. • Many girls begin working as early as five years old - mainly in agriculture or in homes as domestic servants. Child domestic workers have limited or no access to education as employers often do not allow them to enrol in school.

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7. Caring for relatives • Women and girls disproportionately share the burden and care of ill family members and relatives. This affects not only whether they can attend school but also the time and energy they can devote to schoolwork.

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8. Lack of Water and sanitation • Due to inadequate water sanitation and hygiene facilities poor girls can spend six hours each day collecting water leaving little time for school. • Those girls who do go to school often drop out when they start to menstruate because there is no safe place to keep clean at school.

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9. Conflict and Emergencies • Girls living in conflict-affected countries are 90 more likely to be out of secondary school than those living in peaceful areas. Schools can be destroyed in conflict situations while targeted attacks on girls schools can make parents afraid to send their daughters to school. • In humanitarian emergencies including natural disasters increased poverty for families and lack of employment opportunities means girls are at higher risk of early marriage or ending up in prostitution

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10. Pregnancy • Each year about 16 million girls between 15 and 19 give birth. • Stigma lack of support and discriminatory laws around pregnancy exclude girls from school forcing them to stay at home and care for their children. • Childcare and flexible school programmes or adult classes are not available to them.

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11. Disability • Globally between 93 million and 150 million children live with a disability. The World Health Organization and the World Bank estimate that in some countries "being disabled more than doubles the chance of never enrolling in school". • Girls with disabilities face discrimination both because of their gender and their disability making them among the most marginalised groups of children. Respondents to the World Health Survey 2002-2004 indicated that 41.7 of girls with a disability completed primary school compared to 52.9 for those without a disability

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The Prospects of Education for the Nigerian Girl-Child

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1. Introducing the laws that protect the girl child • This includes laws that punish those who abuse girls as well as laws that punish parents for not sending their daughters to school. Nigerian policymakers should seriously consider the issue of the girl child education in Nigeria in order to ensure a better future for the whole country.

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2. Encouraging parents to send their daughters to school • In addition to punitive measures such as laws we have talked about before parents need to be encouraged to provide education for their girl children. It means providing more affordable or even free education for those who struggle financially.

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3. Providing better healthcare for girls • Girls need to have better access to information about their health especially their reproductive health. • Additionally they need better healthcare that focuses more on the specifics of the female human body. • All of this will help to reduce the teenage pregnancy rates improve the girls’ general health and subsequently encourage girls to seek education.

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4. Offering various opportunities for female school dropouts • Even if girls have to leave school prematurely they should be offered alternative opportunities to finish their education. • This might take form of evening schools online courses or extramural education.

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5. Moving away from the traditional view on women’s role towards gender equality • Even though it is more of a long- term goal and it might even seem impossible to achieve it is still very important. • More women need to speak up on the importance of girl child education. • Girls should not feel lesser because of their gender. • Their achievements have to be celebrated as much as boys’ are.

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6. Employing more female teachers • A small measure as this can improve the situation with girl child education in Nigeria. • When girls have someone to look up to they will be encouraged to work harder and achieve more. • They will see a positive example of what education can give them.

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7. Strengthen the Child’s Rights Act • The Child’s Rights Act should be strengthened and implemented in all states. • This would go a long way in checkmating indiscriminate child abuse. • Girls not educated remain dependent on their parents before marriage on their husbands after marriage and on their children if eventually their husbands die. • Would you as a concerned caring and loving father or mother love to see your daughter in this condition • This calls for encouraging the girl child education.

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Why Girls’ Education can help eradicate Poverty

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Why is educating girls so important • Every child has a right to learn and get a good quality education regardless of gender where they live or their circumstances. • Because educated girls can make informed choices from a far better range of options educating girls saves lives and builds stronger families communities and economies. • With an education girls will understand their rights have a greater sense what is needed to support health and wellbeing and they will have greater opportunities to be employed in a fulfilling way and achieve their full potential. • Some of the benefits of giving girls an equal opportunity to be educated especially with regards to reducing poverty are highlighted

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1. Economic Growth • Education for girls and boys increases productivity and contributes to economic growth. Globally women are not in the formal job market as much as men but many studies show there are economic benefits if they are allowed to join the labour force. • Educating girls and young women increases a countrys productivity and contributes to economic growth. Some countries lose more than 1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys. • A woman with an education can get a better job with higher wages and has the effect of addressing gender imbalances in the labour force. Increased levels of education have a greater positive impact on womens wages.

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According to an International Labour Organization report "Educating girls has proven to be one of the most important ways of breaking poverty cycles and is likely to have significant impacts on access to formal jobs in the longer term. ”

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2. Health knowledge saves childrens lives • A child born to a literate mother is 50 more likely to survive past the age of five. Over the past four decades the global increase in women’s education has prevented more than four million child deaths. • Educated mothers are better informed about sanitation nutrition and immunisation for their children leading to fewer child deaths from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea pneumonia and malaria or from malnutrition.

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3. Smaller and more sustainable families • Girls’ education helps reduce population growth. Educated women have fewer pregnancies and are also less likely to become pregnant as teenagers. • In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa the birth rate among girls with secondary education is four times lower compared to those with no education.

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4. Reduced infection rates for HIV/AIDS and malaria • When researchers analysed the declining HIV/AIDS infection rate in Zimbabwe from 29 of the population to 16 from 1997 to 2007 they found that high levels of girls completing secondary education was an important factor in making awareness campaigns and efforts to reduce infection by partners more effective. • Better-educated girls and women are also more likely to use techniques to prevent malaria such as using bed nets and are less likely to become infected.

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5. F ewer girls in child marriages • Girls who are better educated are less likely to be married as children and are more likely to have opportunities for a healthier and more prosperous life for themselves and their families. • Across 18 of the 20 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage girls with no education are up to six times more likely to marry as children than girls with a secondary education.

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6. Better prepared for natural disasters and climate change • Higher levels of education generally help prepare families for coping with shocks. Girls’ education in particular is associated with reduced injury and death and increased family and community resilience from the hazards of natural disasters and extreme weather that results from climate change. • A 2010 World Bank study of developing countries from 1960 to 2003 found that countries with higher levels of female schooling were less likely to suffer high rates of death injury and displacement due to weather disasters.

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7. More control over their lives • When girls go to school they grow into women who have more say over their lives and have an increased sense of their worth and capabilities. • They are less likely to be subjected to domestic violence and will participate more in decision- making in households.

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8. More skills to be leaders • Education helps women to gain the skills needed to take on leadership roles at local and national levels. • Better-educated women are more likely to join bodies whether volunteer or elected where they can take part in making decisions that affect their lives and those of their communities.

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Then Why NOT a Daughter • People love to have a “MOTHER” • People love to have a “WIFE” • People love to have a “SISTER” • People love to have a “GIRL FRIEND” • Then WHY NOT a DAUGHTER • So let’s Save the Girl Child Save the Nation.

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3 Critical Indicators to encourage Girl-Child Education in Nigeria

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A. Health Nutrition Indicators: • 1. Pregnancy registration • 2. Immunisation for mothers • 3. Nutrition supplements for the mother • 4. Institutional delivery • 5. Regular health checkup • 6. Accessibility of health center • 7. Availability of medicine • 8. Regular monitoring of health of child • 9. Immunisation regime for the child • 10.Supplementary nutrition

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B. Education Indicators: • 1. Preschool education and supplementary nutrition facility • 2. Enrollment of girl child in school • 3. Primary education facility • 4. Availability and accessibility of elementary and secondary education facility • 5. Number of female teacher and trained teachers • 6. Provision of mid day meal • 7. School books and stationeries • 8. Proper school building • 9. Toilet and sanitation facilities • 10. Extracurricular activity in school • 11. Special education for disabled • 12. Sports facilities

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C. Protection Indicators: • 1. Birth registration of the girl child • 2. Protection from child abuse and marriage • 3. Protection for sexual exploitation and trafficking • 4. Prevention of child labour • 5. Care for street children -Award and Public communication:

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Thinking About Great Professionals…. …. are all products of great investments in the “Girl- Child Education”.

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Products of Investment in Girl- Child Education • ChiefMrs Eniola Fadayomi • Prof. Bolanle Awe • Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala • Dr Obiageli Ezekwesil • Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita • Mrs Omobola Johnson • Mrs Sola Borha • Professor Rukaiyyatu Rufai • Mrs Farida Waziri • Mrs Ibukun Awosika • Dr Sarah Alade • Mrs Toyin Sanni • Ms Arunma Oteh • Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman • Ms Funke Opeke • Mrs Bolanle Austen- Peters • Mrs. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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• These are vibrant and outstanding women in Nigeria among others who confirm the saying that “What a man can do a woman can do better.

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Let’s come together to…

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Closing Thought: • As Graca Machel international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and former first lady of South Africa stated at the 2015 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship “Investing in girls education is closing a circle of life: recognize that it is like planting a tree: fertilize it water it continue to care for it prune it continue to care for the tree and look after it the fruits will come later” Van Oranje 2015. •

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References used • https://www.legit.ng/1124635-girl-child-education- nigeria-problems-prospects.html • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272548550_Iss ues_in_girl- child_education_in_Nigeria_implications_for_library_and _information_support • Educating Girls: Creating a foundation for positive sexual and reproductive health behaviors. https://www.fphighimpactpractices.org/briefs/educating -girls/ • Khadijat Kuburat Lawal. Importance of the Nigerian Girl Child Education. https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2016/04/19/17234 5/ • Ifijeh Goodluck Osayande Odaro. Issues In Girl-child Education In Nigeria: Implications For Library And Information Support. Gender Behaviour Volume 9 Number 2 December 2011 Copyright © 2011 Ife Center for Psychological Studies Services Ile-Ife Nigeria • The Value of Girl-Child Education in Nigeria. https://www.proshareng.com/news/Education- Knowledge/The-Value-of-Girl-Child-Education-in- Nig/41338 • https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/12/7-93million-out- of-school-girls-youmax-to-nominate-girl-child-education- ambassador/

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