As gender gap remains particularly wide in terms of access to health, education and employment in Nigeria, many girls continue to be trapped in the cycle of poverty therefore limiting their ability to live to their full potential. Every day, young girls drop out of school to work at home or get married, are abused and denied the right to basic support. Yet, research has shown that when girls reach their full potential through improved status, better health care and education, it is the most effective development tool for society as a whole.
The purpose of our “Back on Track” Program is simple; to give disadvantaged young girls a better chance to livelihood through skill acquisition and mentorship. This program, currently supported by the Stars Foundation under the ‘With and For Girls’ collective targets out-of-school young women and girls aged 16-29 who do do not have the skills or knowledge required to earn a living. These young girls tend to embrace risky behaviours as the only way of providing for themselves and most times end up engaging in street hawking, prostitution, illegal use of drug.
The initiative empowers beneficiaries by helping them learn vocational skills, assists and supports them in setting up businesses, as well as provide them with key information on sexual and reproductive health and rights so they can make a better life for themselves and increase the possibility of them getting back on track towards a productive life.
The Back on Track program has helped place more than 50 girls in vocational training and paired over 200 girls with a mentor.
Gloria (not real name) is one of our beneficiaries who despite losing her mother at an early age and having a baby at age 15 chose not to give up on her dream of being a fashion designer. Although she was semi skilled in tailoring, she lacked basic business management skill, had access to little or no funds to sustain her business and had a huge responsibility to cater for her baby as a single mother. We met Gloria in a rural community during one of the activities of our maternal and child health programs and enrolled her in our back on track program. Gloria was able to garner valuable business management skill and receive seed funding for her business which has helped her run and sustain her business. Today, Gloria is successfully running her business and making enough profit to cater for herself and her child and hopes to return to school in the nearest future.