By Doris Obinna
Mercy Corps Nigeria recently announced the launch and kick-off of the Girls Improving Resilience Through Livelihoods and Health (GIRL-H) programme.
The programme, which is funded by an anonymous donor, is a 36-month (October 2020 to September 2023) multi-country programme targeting adolescent girls, boys and young people between aged 10 to 24 years, in Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and now expanding to Nigeria.
The programme, which held in Alausa, Lagos, aims to improve the well-being of adolescents and young people by increasing their access to and uptake of life skills, and financial literacy, as well as foster pathways to economic opportunities in Nigeria.
The Girl-H programme is to be implemented in two states: Lagos and Kano through partners Action Health Incorporated (AHI) and Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI) respectively.
GIRL-H Nigeria disclosed it will build the resilience of 26,000 adolescent and young people in marginalised communities in Lagos (14,000) and Kano (12,000) Nigeria. The GIRL-H model is built on the lessons of the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) among other similar agency wide programs.
The country director, Ndubisi Anyanwu, who spoke at the event said the GIRL -H programme is increasing Mercy Corps Nigeria reach to vulnerable groups, particularly in northern Nigeria which is now at over 500,000 direct participants.
According to him GIRL-H will build an enabling environment through educating communities to transform gender and social norms so that girls and boys are valued and able to access their basic human rights.
He said: “One important aspect of the Girl-H programme is building young people’s resilience and providing access to livelihood opportunities. Considering the economic constraints facing Nigerian youths today, these are much needed skills for them to actively partake in the country’s sustainable development.
“With its large population of which one-third is made up of young people in Lagos, is a strategic location for the GIRL-H programme. We are looking forward to a continuous robust collaboration with the government and people of Lagos state, the private sector and other civil society organisations
“We appreciate the support of Action Health Incorporated (AHI), our partner who will be leading implementation in Lagos State who I would say to, ‘go and break boundaries.’
“I want to specially thank the entire GIRL-H team for all their efforts and dedication to ensure the success of this programme across the different countries of implementation.”
Speaking on the model, the programme manager, Jennifer Madueke, said: “GIRL-H will reach a diverse group of vulnerable young people with tailored innovative interventions based on their unique peculiarities to bring about sustainable change.”