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The gender gap in Nigeria narrowed significantly today when a Digital Summer School for 30 young Nigerian women opened in Abuja. The global coalition behind the programme hopes it will take women in that category across the many cultural, religious, gender and political constraints enveloping the gender divide. Among the organisations are the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives, (WRAPA); Centre for Information Technology, (CITAD), the School of Advanced International Studies at the John Hopkins University and the Everett Programme at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The last two organisers are in the United States of America.
Both Professor Paul Lubeck of SAIS and Mallam Y Z Y’au, the Executive Director of CITAD told the opening ceremony that the Summer School is the realisation of an idea that cropped up at an interaction at SAIS in 2016 and it was based on the conclusion that the crisis in northern Nigeria cannot be resolved without involving women in the process. Mallam Y’au explained that the issue now is not just to educate women but to turn them to people who can create jobs and contribute to enhancing community resilience.
“If 30 of you here turn out to replicate the experience of Amal Hassan, that would be great”, said the CITAD boss. Amal Hassan is the lady who made good through such opportunity and was on the high table to share her success story with the young girls. Mallam Y’au explained they have not only opened the programme to every parts of Nigeria, they would be staging similar ones in Kano, Lagos, Maiduguri and Makurdi, among others.
Congratulating the participants for having the opportunity, Hajia Sadautu Mahdi, the Executive Secretary of WRAPA charged them to become managers of change in terms of deconstructing, negotiating and challenging the socialisation of women. Alhaji Tijani Tumsah of the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative, (PCNI), who inducted the participants declared warm welcome of the programme, describing it as the future of reconstruction of the region, adding that “the situation in the Northeast in relation to other parts of Nigeria is dire and alarming”.
Mallama Salma Abdulwaheed who spoke on behalf of the participants thanked the organisers for putting together the programme.