When you educate a girl, you educate a nation

REP. FREDERICA S. WILSON
GUEST COLUMNIST

I am traveling soon with my colleagues to Nigeria, to meet some of the Chibok girls who were released after negotiations between Boko Haram and Nigerian government officials.

It is my fourth trip to Nigeria since 2014, when the terrorist group abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls from their dormitory rooms. More than 100 of the original 276 girls are still captives.

Many Chibok girls have not allowed this ordeal to diminish their determination to pursue an education.

An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family and a whole nation.”

Fifty percent of Nigeria’s population is female. They will ensure that their children are educated, which will greatly benefit their families and Nigeria by equipping it with a workforce prepared to help undo the extensive damage caused by Boko Haram.

Recruiting tactic
Lack of education has been a key factor in Boko Haram’s ongoing ability to successfully recruit young men and boys and continue to replenish battlefield losses incurred in battle with the Multinational Joint Task Force.

While the insurgents teach boys that “Western education is sinful,” educated mothers are living examples of the critical role education plays in determining one’s future success.

Those boys grow up viewing a world full of possibility and opportunities and are therefore extremely unlikely to see the appeal of becoming a terrorist.

Frederica Wilson represents Florida’s 24th congressional district.

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