In a statement on the UN websites, the United Nations Population
Fund said, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and
the United Nations Children’s Fund, it was setting up clinics and
providing health screening for any of the girls coming back, as
well as educating those who had escaped.
The representative of the UNFPA in Nigeria, Ms. Rati Ndhlovu, was
quoted as saying, “The girls are running from home and they have
no menstruation pads and have nothing to use. They need water.
They need the basic things that keep a woman dignified.”
The statement further said the UNFPA had distributed much-
needed essentials, including “dignity kits” that include sanitarian
The UNFPA added that it was educating the girls about healthy
timing of pregnancies.
Ndhlovu added, “The girls are asked to question becoming
pregnant during times of insecurity. It may not be the best time to
be pregnant when you can hardly sleep in your house, when you
are running all the time.
“With most health clinics closed and a shortage of health workers,
the UN and its partners are leading and supporting coordination
efforts to ensure synergies around interventions. In that regard, the
UN is working with local non-governmental organisations and
engaging the Red Cross on logistical matters.”
The fund also said it was training traditional religious leaders on
how to work with their communities to address certain challenges.
It added that programmes are aimed at changing attitudes so that
the returning girls are not stigmatised and shunned.
“Initially, the girls didn’t want to hear about school or go back to
school because they were at school when this happened to them,
but then they attended a vigorous psychosocial clinic programme
and by the end of it all, they all wanted to go back to school. Now,
they are ready to go back to school,” the UN official said.
According to the statement, another session was held for men and
boys of the communities to involve them in creating a safe space
for the girls to return to.
Men and boys were said to have discussed ways to ensure that
girls are not abused, and that when they come back, they are
accepted. Also, a separate group of men were reportedly
championing for the rights of the girl child in terms of education
Ndhlovu said, “The UN family has not forgotten the girls.”