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Education and learning can play an important part in countering terrorism and harmful traditional practices as well as promoting good sexuality and health practice. Information represents power. But it is a severe challenge in a region where only 56% of children have access to primary education and only 36% of the population can read or write. There are huge numbers of children out of school and without the right skills to eventually access productive employment and decent jobs. In Nigeria, the most populous country in the region, there are some 7.7 million children out of school. Girls are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to education - less than half go to school.

Working with partners, we are facilitating a region-wide discussion on sexuality education with representatives from health and education ministries from 17 countries in the region. This includes working with them to implement the collective call for action and develop national roadmaps to strengthen the provision of comprehensive sexuality education, the creation and rehabilitation of school clinics to provide better sexual and reproductive health services and also the training of health care providers to improve these services and give psychosocial counseling.

UNFPA ensures girls access to life skills, age-appropriate sexuality education and health services, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. It gives girls opportunities for participation and enhanced mobility and documents, evaluates, and shares this body of work across countries.