“Women and girls are Nigeria's greatest untapped resources, and it is they, not diamonds or oil and minerals, that will be the foundation for solid, sustainable and equitable progress” That was the opening statement of Malik Shabbazz Abdulmalik a social crusader and political activist during a tour of Gombe, a State in the North Eastern Nigeria, supposed hot bed for Boko Haram.
Malik stated that, Health and development experts, economists, non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and even banks agree that expanding the freedoms, the education and opportunities for women holds the key to kick-starting inclusive economic growth. This is true the world over, and particularly true for Nigeria"
“Everyone wins when children — and especially girls – have access to education. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential and prepare herself for a productive and fulfilling life, as well as reduce poverty in the whole community. Investing in girls’ education also helps delay early marriage and parenthood. Our booming economies in Africa need more female engineers, teachers and doctors to prosper and sustain growth.” – Angélique Kidjo
“Educating girls and giving them the tools to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth. It leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals but for their communities and their societies. It provides returns for decades.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
These words must have resonated constantly in the mind of H.E Ibrahim Hassan Damkwambo and been the driving force to his massive reforms and strides in Education.
The schools visited today were unlike most / many schools I have seen in the Southern parts of Nigeria. The schools can only be matched with the model schools in Ondo state by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko .
Schools that can equal for a university, with access roads all lit up and good sanitary systems and clean environment and computer laboratories that can pass for an electronic library. Shocked beyond words, I saw girls in those classes and not in the kitchen as the African man would relegate them to . Girls in Chemistry laboratories trying their hands on science .
To say I am impressed is being modest. I was wowed by the sight.
For a minute I wondered if this is the same North East that they say is devastated by Boko Haram activities or if this is the same North East that people would say they are only Almajiris in the north.
These girls are given the opportunity to be at par with other females across the country and continent and yet they are not dissuaded from their cultural beliefs and religion. They can still study to become scientists and technical gurus and still play their roles as women in the society.
No stereotypes of any sort.