Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, in conjunction with Action Health Incorporated, an NGO, has commenced moves to end the menace of “Out-of School Girls’’ in Lagos State through a multi-sector strategic approach that will eventually lead to a State-wide launch of the campaign.
Declaring open a three-day programme to work out the strategies in Lagos, the Commissioner in the Ministry, Mrs. Lola Akande stated that the intervention is aimed at improving the welfare of Out of School children through empowerment programmes and access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.
She stated that the high number of out of school girls and the fact that many of them are vulnerable to forced sexual encounters, teenage pregnancy and early marriage, among other incidents, warranted the action plan.
Akande reaffirmed the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to run an all inclusive government that will leave no one behind, adding that such girls should also be empowered to enjoy like their peers.
“The strategic plan is in consonance with the vision 2025 as outlined in the Lagos State Development Plan with a focus on mobilizing resources to maximize the potentials of out of school girls in slum communities and a mandate to ensure the strategic initiative,’’ she said.
According to her, the State Government has taken the lead through various legal and policy frameworks to support girls and women, including passing a law to provide protection against Domestic Violence and Connected Purposes, Child’s Rights Law 2007, Yellow Card for the prevention of child abuse, among others.
Also speaking at the retreat, the Chairman House Committee on Youth and Social Development, Hon. Richard Kasunmu, stated that the strategic plan will guarantee the well-being of several hundreds of girls and boys in the State when implemented.
He applauded the Ministry and Action Health Incorporated as well as other stakeholders for the plan towards helping marginalized girls and boys, stating that, out of school boys should also be considered as they pose serious threat to the society.
The Executive Director of Action Health Incorporated, Mrs. Adenike Esiet thanked the Lagos State Government for its relentless support for the less privileged girls and youths in the State, noting that the partnership will benefit many marginalized girls in the State.
The programme was attended by representatives of Ministry of Information and Strategy, Citizens Mediation Centre, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Mass Literacy Agency, among others.