Over one thousand adolescent girls from across Kano state were Saturday awarded millions of naira-worth of bursaries and seed grants, by the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) II programme, funded by the UK-Department for International Development (UK-DFID).
Mercy Corps is the implementer of the ENGINE II programme in collaboration with the Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWoDEN) – Mercy Corps’ local implementing partner in Kano state. ENGINE II, a successor to the ENGINE programme (2013-2016) is aimed at enhancing girls’ learning experience, including achieving transition to the next phase of their education as well as achieving sustainability in educating Nigerian girls and will last from 2017 to 2020.
While delivering opening remarks at the bursaries and seed grants award event, Maimuna Yakubu, CEO of SWODEN said the event would award scholarships to hundreds of marginalised girls to help them transition to 24 tertiary institutions, within and outside of Kano state, towards ensuring no girl was left behind.
“Beneficiaries of the project are less-privileged girls who do not get educational support from their parents. We send them to school to learn and make sure we provide all the necessary educational support for them study. And some of them have gotten income to start up small businesses from us,” said Yakubu. “For this phase of the programme, we are sponsoring 120 girls to higher institutions – and all their expenses are covered.”
Yakubu said ENGINE II was awarding bursaries to girls for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) – WAEC and NECO – as well as the Universities Matriculation Examination (UTME). She added that they were also donating instructional materials to teachers and disbursing seed grants to the girls who had gone through ENGINE II’s entrepreneurial skills acquisition programme, so the girls could support their transition to higher institutions of learning, themselves.
Talatu Aliyu Wudil, principal of Government Girls Arabic Secondary School, Masallacin Fagge said her students had benefited a lot from the ENGINE II programme who got various forms of support including learning materials, extra curriculum lessons in Mathematics, English and core science subjects as well as bursaries for Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the Universities Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Hafsat Usman, a beneficiary of ENGINE II’s seed grant narrated how she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur but had no means of getting start-up funds. Luckily for her, Ungogo Local Government Area (LGA) of Kano state, where she hailed from, was selected as one of the ENGINE II project LGAs and she got enrolled in the proramme’s entrepreneurship scheme. With the capital she got at the end of her training, she started a business; she is now able to pay for her own education herself and had also learnt communications and peace building skills.
Amongst others, during Saturday’s event in Kano, the sum of 2.4 million naira was paid to girls beneficiaries as bursaries for higher education; seed grant and entrepreneurship tools worth 8.7 million naira was disbursed to 350 girls. Moreover, UTME (JAMB) registration form worth 4.5 million naira was distributed to 672 girls seeking entry into various higher institutions of learning.
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