By Bashir Kabir
Human capital comprises several factors, including Hard skills and soft skills. Higher education and training. Intelligence and emotional intelligence.
The very ingredient basis of human development is directly attributed to the asset index of any society or nation on the road to successful development.
The potential a member of society has based on his or her human capital will determine how productive that member will be to society.
Extreme poverty such as the one staring at us in the face right now can be tackled simply by developing human capital. Once again, hard skills, soft skills, education, training, and intelligence.
Various projects to respond to the human capital development in Africa target at providing a strong framework to address emergency response and inclusive to COVID-19 recovery efforts, sectorial and global instability, climate change, gender, and other compounding crises that threaten to erode the human capital of an entire generation.
Why adolescent girls? Women have been understood to be disproportionately affected by all the above-mentioned adverse conditions.
This also means that developing their human capital through improved education, empowerment, and healthcare access can go a long way to address global issues such as climate change, nutrition, maternal mortality et cetra.
According to a study, a girl child born in Nigeria today will be 36 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
Among the objectives of the AGILE project, a World Bank-supported project in Nigeria is that adolescent girls should complete secondary school education.
During those years, she will learn basic health knowledge, be empowered with soft skills (digital literacy) as well as be empowered with hard skills such as entrepreneurial skills.
The disparity of literacy between the southern and the northern Nigerian girls is wide enough to call for a concentrated intervention in the northern region where indicators are on the low side.
AGILE project is the road to the education and empowerment of the average adolescent girl. Nothing fancy such as a university degree (which would be excellent if achieved) but rather basic literacy and awareness that can improve that asset of human capital among the girls.
How to close the Gender gaps in human capital can be a daunting task yet one that absolutely has to be addressed.
The research agenda focuses on how to design interventions such as the AGILE project that address women’s access to and use of health services and education, and reduce women’s vulnerability to shocks that disrupt human-capital acquisition.
The rationale for addressing the demographic challenges through a multi-sectoral approach including health, climate change, and technology et cetra at the regional level, complementing the national level appears to be an effective approach towards addressing girl’s human capital constraints.
Countries of the Sahel region share similar vulnerabilities and challenges.
The AGILE project has to produce results that can be quantified in the number of girls that completed secondary school, learned digital skills, and acquired marketable skills.
But the most important indicator will be the overall improvement in the regional issues including climate change, stability, babies and maternal mortality rate, and food security.