By Michael Ajayi/ Vivian Ihechu
Officials of some ministries in Lagos State have described the GOAL Project of Youths Empowerment Foundation (YEF), as a strategy to help adolescent girls acquire relevant life skills and be self-reliant.
They spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos at a Stakeholders Meeting to commemorate the Goal Project’s 10th Year Anniversary in Nigeria.
GOAL Project aims at improving the economic power of young people, empower girls, the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities with skills to break the cycle of poverty, liberation from exploitation and abuse.
Commenting, Agboola Olaide, an Assistant Director of Education, Ministry of education, District IV, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos, said: “This GOAL Programme by YEF is very laudable project.
“Though, it is basically for girls, we have also added girls to it. The programmes has trained these children to face any challenge in life, especially when they are sexually abuse in any form of abuse.
“ It also equips them with basic life skills need to push and establish them in life,’’ Olaide told NAN.
Also, Mrs Sarah Olanrewaju, an Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMoH), told NAN that the GOAL was highly recommended.
According to her, LSMoH is ready to partner further with the organisation because its objectives are also in sync with the vision of the ministry.
Commenting, Dr Oluyomi Oluwasanmi, Director, School Sports Directorate, said the benefits of engaging youths in sports were enormous, hence, the GOAL project should not only be sustained, but be expanded.
According to Oluwasanmi, sports helps in building people up, not just physically, but also mentally and in the case of martial arts, help in self-defence.
She commended the efforts of YEF and partner organisations, including the Standard Chartered Bank.
In her remarks, Mrs Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, Executive Secretary, YEF, told NAN that the package of the GOAL project resonates around and will help in achievement of some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“One of the SDG Goals is to ensure that we reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy, ensure adolescents have access to nutrition and the live healthier lives.
“Another goal also aims that people have access to quality education.
“All of these will lead to empowerment that will make for better physical, social, mental and economic lives.
“And so, the GOAL project in particular, which is a project implementation targeting adolescent girls, ensures that we build capacity of girls in such a way that they are able to negotiate for better relationships,’’ Akin-Jimoh said.
According to her, there are sessions to enhance literacy skills, whereby girls in secondary schools are taught about academic excellence, communication and time management.
“These are key deliverables for them to know the skills they need to enhance their academic performances in school.
“There are also sessions focussed on health, their bodies, menstruation, cleanliness and reproduction.
“All of these, including sporting skills and vocational skills will make the adolescents well built, groomed and prepared to be self-reliant.
“When a female is self-sufficient, she will be less dependent and better equipped to address and tackle challenges stereotypically associated with the female gender,’’ she said.
Akin-Jimoh said it was an annual responsibility to meet with stakeholders and officials from the Ministries of Education, Health, Youth, Sports and Development as well as the Sports Commission.
“They are to give an overview of the work being done on adolescent girls and boys in Lagos State.
“These programmes empower the adolescents; GOAL is a life skill sports for development programme to build the capacity of adolescents to ensure that they have the necessary life skills.
“These skills include vocational skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, being able to communicate, being able to have interpersonal relationships in such a way that they are healthier individuals and sports.
“We use these sports to train them on areas which they can use to enhance their physical fitness and also their social development.
“The stakeholders’ meeting ensures that everyone is carried along to know the impact of the programme,’’ she said.
According to Akin-Jimoh, the project targets about 12,000 adolescents across Lagos State, Ibadan and Abuja.
Speaking, Mr Omotunde Samson, Senior Youths Development Officer, Ministry of Youths and Social Development, told NAN that the project has positive impact on the participating youths and should be sustained. (NAN)