By Ogalah Ibrahim

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari has said that
the partnership between Katsina State Government and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has yielded many positive results, not only in the education sector, but in other sectors of the state.

Masari made the remarks in Mani at the flag off of a cash transfer programme designed to provide learning opportunities and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of over 20,000 out-of-School children in the state.

The Katsina Governor thanked UNICEF and the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) of Qatar for providing funds for the programme.

“We are grateful to UNICEF and the Educate A Child (EAC) project for the funds. The Programme Implementation Unit for the cash transfer programme will monitor the programme closely and ensure that the beneficiaries make judicious use of the resources,”  Masari assured.

The cash transfer programme will provide access to learning for the beneficiaries and help reduce the number of 536,132 children currently out of school in Katsina State.

A total of ₦332,832,000 provided by the Qatar Foundation will be disbursed to 20,802 out-of-school children (OOSC), including Almajiris in Kafur, Mani and Safana LGAs of Katsina State.

The funds will be disbursed to the beneficiaries through 10,557 female parents/caregivers to increase school enrolment and attendance rates for boys and girls.

Each female parent/caregiver will receive N8,000 per tranche twice in 2022, amounting to N16,000 per beneficiary.

The cash transfer programme will also ensure that beneficiaries are enrolled and retained in any form of organized  school, including Integrated Qur’anic Schools (IQS) and provided with literacy and numeracy skills linked to employability and livelihood schemes.

Speaking at the launch, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria while thanking their partners for the ‘Educate A Child Project’ in Katsina State said:

“The take-off of the cash transfer programme provides the opportunity to take children off the streets back to the classrooms where every school age child should be. We urge the government to continue to build on these interventions to ensure that every school age child is in school and learning.

“UNICEF is excited that with this launch, we’ll be addressing  the important issues of not just access to education, but quality of learning as we focus on literacy and numeracy skills to build the foundation for employability and livelihood skills.”

Hawkins said the cash transfer programme is being delivered together with the birth registration programme which has so far seen registration of 20,400 children.

He also noted that social workers will be equipped with required skills to track and reunify children living on the street or similar situations with their families, thereby ensuring family-based care for children.

Hawkins further noted that 50 Mallams of Tsangaya schools in three LGAs in the state have been trained on safeguarding and keeping children safe from violence and abuse in their facilities.

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