The Bixby Center was one of the founders of the Centre for Girls Education (CGE) in Northern Nigeria. The Centre is now a joint program of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley and the Population & Reproductive Health Initiative at Ahmadu Bello University. Since 2008, the Centre for Girls Education (CGE) has worked to delay early marriage and reduce related maternal health outcomes in rural communities in northern Nigeria by addressing barriers to girls’ education, particularly in increasing demand for, access to, and retention in secondary schooling.
The Bixby Center and Ahmadu Bello University helped found the Centre for Girls Education (CGE) in Northern Nigeria in 2007. CGE went on to become an independent woman led and staffed non-governmental organization and is now reaching more than 40,000 girls. The center has worked to delay early marriage and reduce related maternal health outcomes in rural communities in northern Nigeria by addressing barriers to girls’ education, particularly in increasing demand for, access to, and retention in secondary schooling. More information can be found at centreforgirlseducation.org.
CGE has been a pioneer in the adaptation of the safe space methodology to girls’ need for strengthened core academic competencies and mentored support as they attend understaffed and underfunded rural schools. The core components of CGE—community engagement, mentor-led safe spaces, training for female teachers, and the nurturing of girl advocates—complement government schooling and have evolved over a decade of community-based research with girls, their parents, and community members in rural, northwest Nigeria.
CGE has been successful in raising the rates of school enrollment and the age of marriage in the communities in which they work. Of the first 1,000 girls in the program, outcomes include:
- Increased secondary school enrollment, from 4% to 82%
- Delayed age of marriage by 2.5 years, from 14.9 to 17.4
CGE is currently reaching a wider range of segments of rural girls through its preschool circles, vocational training, bridge schooling to facilitate school enrollment for girls who never attended school, and other programs for married adolescents and vulnerable girls.
Daniel Perlman, Director of the Centre for Girls Education, describes the Centre’s research on early marriage at the UC Symposium on Gender Equity and Global Reproductive Health in San Diego (March 19-21, 2014).
- Decision-making Leading to Early Marriage in Northern Nigeria
- Delaying Age of Marriage through Girl-Child Education in Northern Nigeria
The MacArthur Foundation, a sponsor of the Transitions project, features and highlights the Centre for Girls Education.