Program to create educational opportunities for out-of-school, displaced Nigerians

Nov. 5, 2014 – More than 54,000 out-of-school and internally displaced children and youth in three fragile northern Nigerian states will be the target of a new initiative that provides basic education and support services through formal and non-formal learning, Creative Associates International announced.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the new project seeks to expand access to quality education opportunities for displaced and out-of-school children and youth ages 6-17 in Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa states—where violence and insecurity have led to their absence from classrooms.

The Nigeria Education Crisis Response program plans to increase the availability of safe and protective learning spaces, and integrate core academic subjects, life skills and wraparound services like socio-emotional support.

“This program targets some of the most vulnerable children in the world: girls and boys living in a tumultuous environment where schools themselves have become targets of violence,” says Charito Kruvant, Creative’s CEO. “By creating safe learning opportunities within and outside of schools, we can preserve the prospects of kids who might otherwise be left out.”

Creative is implementing the three-year, $15 million Nigeria Education Crisis Response program in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and more than 30 Nigerian civil society organizations.

Nigeria has more out-of-school children today than any country in the world, according to the United Nations—10.5 million—of whom 60 percent are girls living in the North. Violent attacks and kidnappings have forced schools to close and thousands of families to flee with their school-age children.

Violence and insecurity have created uneven and worrisome levels of dropout in some schools and overcrowding in others, limiting the access of internally displaced children and youth, and burdening host communities and teachers.

Previous success augurs impact for youth and adolescent girls

The program builds on Creative’s previous work in northern Nigeria. Its USAID-funded Nigeria Northern Education Initiative strengthened basic education systems in Bauchi and Sokoto states by working with the government to address learning, teaching, school management, parental participation and responsiveness to children’s needs—including orphans and vulnerable children.

In addition to training more than 3,500 teachers on literacy, math, life skills and psychosocial counseling, that project realized a 33 percent boost in student enrollment, with girls registering an impressive 38 percent jump.

Increasing access through non-formal education

The Nigeria Education Crisis Response program will expand access to quality, protective and relevant alternative educational opportunities for internally displaced and out-of-school children and youth through 1,176 non-formal learning centers—some set up for adolescent girls in particular. Along with supporting these centers, which accept children of all ethnicities and religions the project will undergird opportunities offered by churches, formal schools, community centers and other places that address the needs of girls, orphans and vulnerable children, displaced persons and other deprived youth.

It will establish non-formal learning centers in Qur’anic and church schools in order to incorporate life skills classes, student support services that are traditionally absent and a core academic curriculum that includes literacy, numeracy, Social Studies, and Basic Sciences.

In each of the educational environments it supports or establishes, the Nigeria Education Crisis Response program will improve the quality of teaching and learning materials for literacy, math and life skills.

It will also work to increase community engagement and support for schooling. In this way, parents and community members will be aware of the new educational opportunities, understand and value the services they provide and support enrollment.

And by increasing state and local government and civil society support for non-formal education and alternative education options, the Nigeria Education Crisis Response project seeks to not only ensure collaboration but generate sustained funding and policy support from the state.

Jerrold Keilson, Vice President and Senior Director of Creative’s Education for Development Division, emphasizes the project’s focus on access and quality.

“Working with teachers, engaging communities so they can support their schools and revitalizing classroom materials so real learning takes place in classrooms all contribute to the project’s long-term success,” he says.

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