The emergence of Covid-19 has greatly affected the globe with so many activities closed, schools across Nigeria closed on 19th March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, forcing 36 million enrolled students out of school. They joined an estimated 13.2 million primary school-aged children who were out of school before the pandemic hit (UBEC 2019 personnel audit data). While this disruption to education and the expected reduction in global growth have far-reaching effects for all, their impact will be particularly detrimental to the most disadvantaged students and their families, especially in conflict-affected communities. The educational consequences of COVID-19 will last beyond the period of school closures and will be particularly severe for conflict-affected girls.
The non-governmental organizations have a role to play in ensuring that those children have access to safe and continued quality education for IDPs, returnees, and host community-affected children in North-East Nigeria. As Education is the bedrock of every nation, it is considered an index for measuring development.
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) project titled “Protective, inclusive quality education for conflict-affected children in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe” is a consortium project in partnership with Plan International and four (4) national NGOs namely Restoration of Hope Initiative (ROHI), GoalPrime organization of Nigeria (GPON) and Grow Strong Foundation (GSF) and Centre for Advocacy, transparency, and Accountability Initiative (CATAI) funded by UNICEF with the aim of ensuring children have access to safe, quality education and continuity targeting 70,000 children comprising IDPs, Returnees, and host communities across the northeast BAY states.
Center for Advocacy, Transparency and Accountability Initiative (CATAI) was implemented in Jere Local Government in partnership with Plan International where 7,000 children among which are 3800 girls and 3,200 boys were enrolled. CATAI also engaged Fifty Nine (59) LEA teachers with the support of implementing partner (PLAN International) in the project locations who were well trained on Lesson Plan, Psychosocial Support (PSS), child safeguarding policy, Safe School Declaration (SSD), Explosive and Ordnance Risk Education (EORE).
This has been achieved through the establishment of radio clubs to support children learning with little or no teacher presence. Interactive Radio instruction (IRI) through digital learning through Video Using Tablet and Radio Set, which was made available in audio and video in four different languages, best on the choice of the location. which have offered children interactive learning while supporting the teachers towards applying best practices to improve students’ skills in literacy, mathematics, and science. Measures were put in place against contracting and spreading of covid-19 were taken and dignity kits with renewable sanitary pads have been provided to adolescent girls to promote access to girls’ education.
CATAI has also conducted sensitizations and awareness in the five (5) project implementation locations which are Al-Ansar Islamic school, Darul Rashad School, Sadiq Ibn Abdallah Islamic School, Madinatu, and Shuwari Lambu camp on Positive parenting, back to school campaign, covid-19 prevention measures and child labor, Gender-Based Violence, and Safe School Declaration where CATAI was able to reach the total number of (9400) direct and indirect beneficiaries that comprise of parents, School-based management committees (SBMCs), teachers, youths, and children.