Stories of change 2022
IN NIGERIA, THERE IS VASTNESS EVERYWHERE: in its range of landscapes, with deserts, plains, mountains and jungles; in its range of cultures, with more than 250 ethnic groups and 500 languages spoken; and, unfortunately, in the range of conflicts that have plagued its northeastern region for more than a decade.
In the Education in Emergencies project areas of Borno and Yobe, threats to education are imminent as insurgent groups repeatedly attack schools and kidnap and harm children and teachers. Attacks on villages have forced millions of families to flee their homes and rebuild their lives in refugee camps. Despite all this, communities remain resilient. “The difficulties are real and glaring, but people are still able to put their hearts together and face the challenges,” says Hanoch Hebron, gender and inclusion coordinator at Plan International Nigeria.
There are more than: 2.9 million internally displaced persons in northeastern Nigeria.
An estimated 10.5 million children are out of school - the highest rate in the world.
In northern Nigeria more than half of girls are not in school.
In conflict-affected northeastern Nigeria, at least 802 schools are closed due to damage.
Children are gaining the skills, confidence and education they need to return to class and achieve their dreams. Here are some of the accomplishments made possible by your generosity:
1100 adolescent girls and boys
were trained in life-skills, addressing issues related to gender roles, power dynamics, positive masculinities, conflict resolution and self-protection.
3100 adolescent girls
are receiving kits with period products and hygiene supplies twice a year.
462 solar powered radios
have been distributed to girls throughout project areas to facilitate distance learning.
1170 girls received vouchers
to cover educational essentials like books, pencils and uniforms.
were trained to accommodate the learning needs of girls and children with disabilities, and to promote safe learning environments for children affected by conflict.
880community and religious leaders
were engaged to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education in their communities, and to address barriers including child, early and forced marriage.
940parents and caregivers
of adolescent girls attended parenting sessions addressing barriers to education like gender-based violence and early and forced marriage.
received teaching and learning materials, including materials for girls with disabilities.
40accelerated learning classes
were established for out-of-school children to catch up on missed schooling.
Stories of Change
MUNIRA, 17, KNOWS ADVERSITY. After insurgents attacked her home, she and her family fled to a camp for internally displaced persons, where she had to travel two kilometres each day to fetch water. On one of these outings, she was involved in a car accident and her leg had to be amputated, leaving her with lifelong mobility issues.
For girls like Munira who live in refugee camps, going to school is already a challenge. Attacks on schools make parents fear for their children’s safety and the trauma children experience can limit their capacity to learn. As a result, many families choose not to give their daughters an education, even if it leads to greater risks: Girls who are out of school are more susceptible to gender-based violence and early and forced marriage.
“When education is under attack, a generation is attacked,” says Charles Usie, country director at Plan International Nigeria. “Girls and women are more vulnerable in times of conflict, making them more susceptible to trauma, fear and gender-based violence and forcing them to withdraw from school. Their childhood dreams eventually fade away.”
Munira’s parents weighed those risks against the increased challenges she faced – they didn’t think a student with disabilities could be accommodated in the classroom – and thought it best to take her out of school.
But Munira discovered accelerated-learning programs through an awareness session held by Plan International. She tentatively inquired whether she, “a girl with one leg” could join and was thrilled when the answer was a resounding “yes!”
With classes tailored to fill the gaps in her education – and accessible facilities to ensure she can easily attend – Munira is now learning basic English, math and science and is happy to be back in school with her friends. She is also challenging the stigma that school isn’t suited for children with disabilities. Her mother is grateful to see her daughter thrive: “Thank you, Plan International,” she says.
A key component to inclusivity is ensuring that everyone’s voices and ideas are heard. Plan International consulted children with disabilities when designing new accessible school facilities to ensure they meet the children’s needs.
I’m happy to be part of the program because it helps me to be confident, especially in pursuing my goals to achieve my desired future.”– Nneka, project participant
Your support for the Education in Emergencies project is making long-lasting change possible for communities, families and children – especially girls – in Nigeria. Looking to the future, Hanoch is hopeful. “I want to believe that in the next five years, we could see girls who have a change of attitude because they’ve participated in our life-skills program and parents who will now prioritize their girls’ participation in education,” he says. “And we’ll see teachers whom we’ve trained who are able to support children who have faced crises in their lives.”
From Hanoch, and all of us at Plan International Canada, thank you for your generosity.
The Education in Emergencies Project in Nigeria is funded in part by the Government of Canada.
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