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A new group of ten high level and influential women selected from across Kebbi state to primarily advocate for enhanced Girl child enrollment and retention in schools had been inaugurated by the Kebbi state First Lady Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu. 

By custom, the State First Lady serves as the Patron of the UNICEF program running on its fifth year. 

At the occasion held in Government House Birnin Kebbi on Sunday 7th July, UNICEF Chief of Field officer Mr Mohammedeen Fall said HILWA Initiative commenced in March 2014 by UNICEF Nigerian in collaboration with Gender Division of the Federal Ministry of Education Abuja and so far twelve chapters had been established in Nigeria. Another focal area of Hilwa was to ensure the appointment of more females as Education Secretaries to promote gender parity.

Dr Zainab Bagudu thanked the outgoing team for all of its efforts calling on them to share their experience with the new one. She assured the new group of her continued support in order to meet the set advocacy objectives of HiLWA. 

The newly Inaugurated members were as follows:

Her Excellency Barrister Hafsat Sule Ahman: Chairperson 
Hajiya Asmau Alkali: Vice Chairperson 
Hajiya Fatima Udulu: Secretary
Hajiya Binta Abdulhameed: P.R.O.
Hajiya Nana Zagga 
Mrs Safiya Magoro 
Hajiya Kulu Rugga 
Mallama Rabi Abubakar 
Hajiya Amina Zayyanu 
Hajiya Saratu Katuka 

Inter alia, the Permanent Secretary Min of Education Haj Raffatu Hammani said that education is the bedrock of development in a society.
Furthermore the administration of His Excellency Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu had made Education a priority by investing in human capital development by training teachers , purchasing books, and improving learning conditions. The overall impact is manifest in improved performance on the previous WAEC, NECO and JAMB Examination performance of the Kebbi State Students. She disclosed that 40 nomadic schools were started in Ruga settlements alongside dialogue with parents to send their wards; especially the girl child to school. 

The initiative aims to promote access to quality education for children especially the Girl-Child through increased participation of women in education, decision making positions at different level of education, authority, government and management at classrooms, schools, Local Government and State levels. 

The new Hilwa Chairperson Barr Hafsatu Ahman said the association is to mentor, support and motivate women and girls in education by identifying and working with development partners to promote education of the Girl-Chirld in the state. 
She used the opportunity to thank His Excellency, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his wife Dr Zainab Bagudu for giving more priority to education sector in the state. 

Making a short presentation on the current situation regarding the Child Right act in Kebbi state, The former Commissioner of Justice Hajiya Ramatu Gulma revealed that, the wife of the governor championed the adoption of 30 year Act in the State. She said most of the content of the Act is taken care of by the existing laws, but care has to be taken on some sensitive areas and these had been taken care of in the last review before her tenure expired. 

A presentation was also taken from Director planning Ministry of Education, Alh Sulaiman Abubakar on the Educational roadmap of Kebbi state. 

The Wazirin Gwandu, Alhaji Abdullahi, Umar appreciated UNICEF’s effort in the state and called on women to always find ways to acquire skills alongside education. 

Other prominent persons and groups present at the well attended event were ALGON Chairman Barrister Shehu Marshall, Muhammad Aliyu
Provost, Adamu Augie College of Education Argungu, Prof of Mathematics Aisha Abubakar from 
FUBK, Haj Aisha Samaila Ganda Wife of Speaker Kebbi state House of Assembly, Hajiya Aisha Magaji Wife, Acting Head of Service, Hon Zarah Wali, Hajiya Naila Haruna Maitandu Wife, Acting Chairman Pilgrims Board, Wives of local government chairmen, Female Lecturers from Kebbi state University Aliero, as well as Exco members of Christian Association of Nigeria, NASFAT, Female Lawyers FIDA, FOMWAN, Nigerian union of journalists, Female Journalists NAWOJ, Education Secretaries etc. 

Sabatu Andrew 
Media Aide 
Wife of the Governor Kebbi State

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