YUMBE. At least 500 learners trained by Danish Refugee Council (DRC), have graduated in Functional Literacy and Numeracy (FLN).

The grandaunts, who included refugees and host community members, had been undergoing trainings for the past six months.

DRC had been training the special interest groups in 10 centres to reduce illiteracy and build lifelong skills among adolescents, equip learners with essential life skills for personal and community development, build the capacity of the groups for income generation and self reliance.

The aim was also to enable beneficiaries, most of them dropouts and their families to attain improved living conditions and better quality life.

Ms Faidha Dede Obombasa, the life skills officer for DRC said they only selected few persons to benefit from the program due to limited vacancies.

"We are trying to lobby for more funds from our funder UNICEF so that more beneficiaries are brought on board to acquire the skills of Literacy and Numeracy. This opportunity should be utilized properly by the beneficiaries and use it as a stepping stone because some of them had nothing, but they can now do something for themselves such as writing names and greeting in English among others," she said.

She said they have limited their operations in Bidibidi zones 1 and 2 and three sub counties of Romogi, Apo and Kochi for the host community due to financial constraints.

Mr Safi Candiga Ariga, the LC 3 chairperson for Apo Sub County said there is need for promotion of girl child education in the district because the rate of dropout for girls and early pregnancy is very high inYumbe district.

"Our people in Yumbe are treating girls as a source of wealth; as such, we lose girls yearly in the schools. Some of the parents force the girls into marriages and they sometimes settle cases of defilement at home!” he said.

He urged parents in the district to change their attitudes and support girl child education and the grandaunts to be self reliant.

Ms Topista Onzia, the team leader for DRC Yumbe criticized the parents and local government leaders for their failure in supporting and guiding girls in the issue of education.

"We found many girls below 15 years who had babies at various homes during the enrollment process into the program, because they didn't get support to go to school. If you want to fight poverty, sickness and bad leadership, people should hold education strongly," she said adding that people are complaining of jobs forgetting that a person can't be employed when he or she didn’t embrace education.

She observed that people in Yumbe were quick to release animals to settle marriage related issues but slow to doing the same to pay school fees, a thing she said was a bad practice.

Onzia urged the locals to use the vast and fertile land in Yumbe for agricultural production and stop lamenting about poverty all the time.