By Nicolas Kalu, Nation
In a bid to increase the capacity of participating boys and girls to learn, exercise agency, protect their health, graduate and earn their certificate and optimize their potentials, the Four Pillars PLUS Project has been launched in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The Four Pillars PLUS Project is a three-year project funded by the General Electric Foundation and Johnson Inc. being implemented by Family Health International 360 (FHI 360).
The Project Director, Josephine Muyiwa-Afolabi, said the project, estimated at $1.8 million, is to be achieved through the improvements of parents’ capacity to equitably support boys’ and girls’ education, improving the capacity of schools to provide quality education to the participating boys and girls in optimizing their potential through increased agency and improved health, and improving the capacity of communities to support boys and girls in optimizing their potential.
She said key project strategies would include student mentoring and counselling, strengthening school administrative structure, community engagement, youth-friendly health services provision/adolescent health charter, creating safe schools by eliminating school related gender based violence, and expanding career options.
Primary targets of the projects are 304 teachers and 4, 800 participating boys and girls across four project schools, which are Government Secondary Schools (GSS) Henshaw Town, GSS Atu, GSS Federal Housing Estate and GSS Adiabo, as well as twenty healthcare workers in four primary healthcare centres in Adiabo, Henshaw Town, Health Post Federal Housing Estate and Nelson Mandela in Calabar South.
Also an estimated 30, 000 persons across four communities of Ikot Ansa, Henshaw Town, Adiabo and Efut Ekondo, Atu are expected to benefit from the project.
The Project Manager, Washington DC, Ahlams Kays, said the have adopted the strategy of inclusion, collaboration and engagement to ensure the project’s success.
Acting Country Director of FHI 360, Dr Robert Chiegil, emphasized the need for education for youths for a better future.
He said Cross River was fortunate to be the first place the project was taking place and urged stakeholders to be committed to ensure the success of the project.
He assured that on their part they will put in all efforts to ensure that the aims of the project are achieved.
Deputy Governor, Ivara Esu, expressed delight with the choice of Cross River State for the launching of “this impactful project which I understand will produce multiple outcomes in the motivation of parents, educational institutions and participants to support and optimize their potentials.”
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Tina Agbor, he said, “The project is timely and apt as it fits into the blueprint of the present administration to produce young entrepreneurs with the proper vocational mind set and orientation that will become great assets in nation building. It is gratifying to note that the program is targeted at young boys and girls in the teen ages as a way of ‘catching them young.’
“It is our hope that the terminal point of this project, beneficiaries will be better positioned to optimize their capacities through the training they will receive.”
While pledging the support of the state government to ensure the sustainability of the project through proper accommodation of the outcomes that will be derivable, he charged beneficiaries from the three selected local government areas to ensure proper coordination of selected trainees and to ensure maximum cooperation with the trainers.
He stressed that all critical stakeholders must play defined roles in the success of the project.
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