One year ago this week, 276 girls were taken at gunpoint from their classrooms and dormitories in Chibok, a rural town in northeastern Nigeria. This painful anniversary serves as a reminder that while time may often seem to fly by, for many this has been the longest and most difficult year of their lives. Since 2014 over 2,000 women and girls in Nigeria have been abducted, and at least 800,000 children have been forced from their homes. Refugee camps in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger are filling at an alarming rate. All of this, and the girls from Chibok are still not home.
The situation is tragic, but it is not hopeless. There are passionate people standing up to Boko Haram’s attacks on education. These brave practitioners are doing so despite the ongoing threats of violence. Here at the Center for Education Innovations, we are proud to feature many of these individuals and organizations.
Oando Foundation’s Adopt-A-School Initiative is increasing access and quality of basic education across Nigeria, with a focus on girl students in the North. This vital program improves school-infrastructure, and conducts innovative teacher trainings. Oando’s frontline advocates invest in critical early child development, and have established numerous centers for information and communications technology. So far, they have reached over 40,000 students in 47 schools, with plans to adopt over 50 more this year.
SOAR Initiative’s Girls Empowerment Program trains female secondary school students in peer education techniques. Operating in central and northern Nigeria, these inspiring educators teach about prevention and responses to sexual abuse, and other sexual health issues. They also improve academic performance by encouraging attendance in school and other confidence-building exercises.
The dRPC, or development Research and Projects Centre, is a powerful program supporting secondary school curriculum reforms to improve the academic success of 3,600 girls in Northern Nigeria. The center focuses on instilling in the girls knowledge of their civic rights, as well as 21st century income generating skills. The program stresses the importance of secondary school education for girls in Jigawa and Kano by utilizing mentoring models, teacher training, and additional resources like a mobile library.
Recognizing the need to maintain and expand Nigeria’s connections to the global community, Connecting Classrooms (CC) is an international program partnering with the UK Department for International Development (DFID/UKAid). CC has worked with over 160 schools across Nigeria. This inventive initiative has linked the schools with a global community through online access and collaboration, in addition to exchange visits with travel and competition grants.
Educating girls in the face of this aggression is critical in the struggle against extremist violence in Nigeria and beyond. We are committed to walking this difficult but necessary path with them. For more information, check out CEI-profiled programs in Nigeria and across the globe.
Images courtesy of the Oando Foundation and dRPC.