By Arinze Azoma

Mercy Corps last week in Lagos kicked off the Girls Improving Resilience through Livelihoods and Health (GIRL-H) Programme.

The programme funded by an Anonymous donor is designed as a 36-month project that began from October 2020 – September 2023  is also a multi-country programme targeting adolescent girls, boys, and young people, aged 10 to 24 years, in Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and now expanding to Nigeria.

According to the organisers of the programme, the GIRL-H  is aimed 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 programme will be implemented in Lagos and Kano states through their partners Action Health Incorporated (AHI) and Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI) respectively.

GIRL-H Nigeria will build the resilience of 26,000 adolescents and young people in marginalized 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) amongst other similar agency-wide programs. According to Country Director Ndubisi Anyanwu, GIRL -H program is increasing Mercy Corps Nigeria’s reach to vulnerable groups, particularly in northern Nigeria which is now at over 500,000 direct participants.

Anyanwu said the 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, working with the public and private sectors to foster opportunities for education, safe livelihoods and financial inclusion; and collaborating with community-based organizations and governments to scale the GIRL-H model.

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”.

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