Population Media Center (PMC), a global sustainability non-profit and broadcast production partner, will collaborate with OASIS and the Centre for Girls Education to develop radio programming and related life skills curriculum for young girls and married adolescents in Nigeria. Acting together, the three organizations aim to increase public awareness about the importance of girls’ education and improve educational outcomes in the broadcast region.
“This program will make education and women’s health top of mind for families in the listening region,” said PMC Program Manager Sandy Joseph.
Many adolescents in the broadcast region of Kaduna and Katsina attend already-existing safe, educational spaces developed by the Center for Girls Education and OASIS, where they have been working since 2012.
“A safe space is a mentored girls’ club that creates a place where girls feel secure, connect with other girls, gain financial literacy, and bridge gaps in academic learning,” said Centre for Girls Education Executive Director, Habiba Mohamed.
The impact of these safe spaces is undeniable.
“Parents of students see evidence of learning and personal growth from the curriculum at the safe spaces,” said OASIS Executive Director, Alisha Graves. “Because of this, they are more willing to let their daughters proceed further in their studies, delaying early marriages.”
While the infrastructure for these spaces is already in place, PMC’s transformative stories and supporting communications efforts will generate demand for the educational spaces in Kaduna and Katsina.
“Spaces like these put women and girls first and uplift entire communities,” says Joseph. “Unfortunately, there are traditionally religious and cultural barriers that hold girls back from attending school. We’ll be addressing those norms directly in our radio program.”
The project’s ultimate goal with OASIS and the Centre for Girls Education is to increase enrollment and retention for girls in academic programs.
“In Nigeria, female literacy rates are some of the lowest worldwide,” says PMC-Nigeria Country Director Ephraim Okon.
With low literacy rates often comes high fertility rates. For example, the average number of children born to a woman in Kaduna or Katsina (i.e., total fertility rate) is nearly six, which is higher than in other regions of the world.
“Married adolescents are often the most vulnerable girls in our communities,” says Okon. “They are less likely to get an education and are more likely to start having children at a young age.”
The inequitable combination of entrenched gender norms and restricted access to resources also leads to higher maternal mortality rates.
“We know that access to education, life skills, and information about reproductive health can change the trajectory of girls’ lives – that’s why this multi-level approach to health and girls’ education will be impactful in numerous ways,” says Okon. ”
Originally called Organizing to Advance Solutions in the Sahel, OASIS was founded as a project of University of California Berkeley’s School of Public Health in 2012 and is now a non-profit. OASIS aims to advance education and choice among women and girls in the Sahel. It collaborates with mostly Sahel-based organizations to develop, cultivate, and scale evidence-based programs based on deep ethnographic research.
About Centre for Girls Education (CGE)
Centre for Girls Education is a pioneer organization of the safe space methodology to strengthen girls’ education in underfunded and rural areas in Nigeria. After just two years of programming, CGE reached a milestone of 65,000 girls enrolled in their centers across six Nigeran states. In addition to the safe spaces, which are at the center of CGE’s work, they also facilitate training for female teachers.
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