In Northern Nigeria, adolescent female sexual and reproductive health issues and rights remain contentious, creating huge gaps and inaccurate information required to support adolescents' transition into healthy youth. The programme will build the sexual and reproductive health knowledge, dignity and educational assets of 1000 marginalized adolescent girls, teen mums and wives in underserved communities in 2 states in Northern Nigeria leveraging on supportive traditional institutions.
Nigeria has 10.5 million out-of-school children with 60% located in Northern Nigeria and 60% are girls. Poverty and illiteracy amongst other factors have reinforced discriminatory beliefs, practices and stereotypes about the girl child - her life needs, sexual rights and dignity. This situation is worsened in Northern Nigeria by beliefs which denies the girl child access to formal education. These discriminatory practices retard the mental, physical and social well-being of adolescent girls.
The project will train female youth-mentors to serve as peer-coaches to facilitate the programmes' curriculum to marginalized adolescent girls, in their local communities, to build knowledge and positive social connections, engender adolescents' life skills assets, facilitate access to health and social services, and support adherence to medical treatment and positive protective behaviours. The programme will empower adolescents to make healthy choices, become change agents and speak up.
The programme's core learning will transform the lives of 1000 adolescents and equip them to serve as game changers in inspiring other marginalized adolescents and advancing gender equity in the long run. The programme is also expected to foster adoption of healthy behaviours that eliminate sexual abuse, gender-based violence, reduction in HIV prevalence and treatment adherence, and widespread change in mindset to eliminate stigma and discrimination against health conditions.