Yendi, Oct.2, GNA - The United Nations Children's Fund, (UNICEF) has donated 196 bicycles and 10 tricycles valued at 58.8 million cedis to Junior Secondary School girls and physically challenged school children who were commuting long distances to school in the Yendi District. Girls commuting long distances to school in the district had high drop-out rate and UNICEF had been intervening over the past four years with the provision of bicycles and other logistics support to encourage them to stay in school.
Presenting the items, Mr. Ziblim Nantogmah, Yendi District Director of Education said UNICEF had so far donated 674 bicycles to girls during the past four years and this had helped increased the enrolment of girls from 893 in 2002/2003 academic year to 1,404 in 2004/2005 academic year. He commended UNICEF for the assistance and said the district was anticipating a high increase in girls' enrolment in subsequent years due to the support UNICEF had been giving to the girls. Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, Yendi District Chief Executive, said the Junior Secondary School level of education was needed to support the development of the area. "This is a stage where girls are easily removed from school and given out for marriage.
It is a stage where parents find it difficult to sustain them in school because of economic reasons", he said. He advised parents not see the package as "Father Christmas gifts" but a valuable tool meant to alleviate the suffering of their girls. He therefore, urged them not to, either take the bicycles away from the girls and give to their boys or take them for their own use. Mr. Gideon Konlan, UNICEF's Assistant Project Officer in-charge of education appealed to parents to take up the maintenance of the bicycles since the girls were not yet working.
He announced that UNICEF had provided 40 schools in the district with boreholes and urinal facilities and would also help in the areas of school infrastructure.
Alhaji Malik Yakubu Alhassan, Member of Parliament for Yendi, thanked UNICEF for donating the bicycles to promote girl-child education, which, he said, was in the right direction of the government's human resource development efforts. He announced that his share of the District Assembly Common Fund would be used to support the 362 untrained teachers undergoing the Distance Education Courses in the Teacher Training Colleges. OCT. 02 05