By Maryam Abeeb, Abuja
The Federal Government, through its At Risk Children Programme (ARC-P), has graduated no fewer than 500 facilitators in Gombe to address the increasing rate of out-of-school children in the state.
Speaking at the ceremony in Gombe, Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, said the initiative was a strategic approach to solving the myriad issues affecting the enrolment of children in schools in the communities.
Uwais, who revealed that the 500 facilitators were expected to give a monthly report on the progress of each child under their care, urged the facilitators to help the children beyond acquisition of knowledge, to mentorship.
The Presidential adviser said, “I like to tell you that we have placed a lot of responsibility on you; you have been trained to handle the responsibility of other children beyond learning.
“You will take care of the children in your communities, you will be expected to not only supervise and teach them, you will also monitor them, and you will mentor them.
“You will make sure you give us a report every month on how each and every child that has been assigned to you is progressing within your community”.
She described the tasks of the facilitators as huge but, “we feel this is the only way we can address the huge numbers of children that are out of school across the country.’’
“We need to create an army of capacity within the communities to see how we can support these children who, through no fault of theirs, are deprived of so many rights and protection.”
She noted that Gombe state would be used as a model for other states that had indicated interest to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling issues affecting children across the country.
Uwais commended the Gombe state government for “setting the pace and for the graduates for assuming the responsibility we have put on you.”
On his part, Gov Inuwa Yahaya lauded the Federal Government for the initiative to reduce social vices in the state.
Yahaya said the initiative deserved commendation in view of the fact that it was aimed at tackling the crisis of vulnerable children, including Almajiri children, street children and youths potentially at risk both physically and psychologically.
“The introduction of this programme to provide succor to the less privileged and vulnerable in our societies so that they could live a more dignified life is indeed timely and welcomed.”