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Smiling children playing in Nigeria

Education is power, education is life

Elizabeth Bahago is the chairperson of the local women’s committee that helps support education for girls in her community. Through the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria, mums like Elizabeth are making their voices heard.

Elizabeth Bahago, local women's committee chairperson

Elizabeth Bahago

We’ve seen a momentous difference in our community. For a start, the number of girl students has increased greatly. Before, parents didn’t care about their girls’ education. There was true gender segregation. This was badly affecting girls’ lives. Too many girls were forced into early marriage.

Parents are now seeing the need to send their girls to school and the value for these future mothers. Many girls are staying in school through primary and secondary levels, and some are going on to graduate from further education institutions. They are taking responsible positions in society. Nigeria is starting to see more female accountants and lawyers. The government is supporting this. If a girl can read well, then she can contribute a big role in society.

I was very lucky growing up. My father was a clergyman in our village and he made sure I was literate. People looked down on him for sending me to school, but he was determined that I should be able to read. I am happy today as a result.

Why am I so passionate about this? There is no asset like an education. Educate children and they will become an asset in society, not a liability. It gives me great joy to see girls being educated. It changes their lives.

Once you have knowledge, it can’t be taken away from you. Girls who can read can pass on their learning. They have the tools to share their thoughts. I truly believe that if you educate your girls, you educate the entire nation.

Mothers have a huge role to play: we want to know our children are happy and can play their role in society. By putting us on the school committees and empowering us to play a prominent role, we are driving progress. That means everything to me.

I think there is a bright future for our country. I want to believe that illiteracy will disappear in Nigeria. That future will come so long as we keep the emphasis on education.

Education is power. Education is life.

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