Build the Agency of 150 Adolescent Girls and Women

by Education as a Vaccine
Build the Agency of 150 Adolescent Girls and Women
School registration
School registration

We are excited to share that we have completed school re-enrolment processes for 80 young girls from poor and vulnerable homes. Through your generous support, we provided books, bags, sandals, socks, and other scholarly materials they would need. For some, we offset the bills for testimonials and other certificates- the lack of which was keeping them from progressing to junior and senior secondary schools. In addition, through our advocacy, we were able to get two principals to waive some charges for some of them for a duration of time.

Our work concerning school enrolment has been challenging in recent times particularly with the increased incidences of violent attacks on schools and increasing cases of school kidnappings which prompted the Kaduna state government to shut down schools again just when they were recovering from the pandemic related shutdowns. Thus, in addition to sensitizing young girls and community members on the importance of educating girls and working to ensure school retention, we also mobilized the girls to carry out campaigns and advocate for appropriate strategies that will prevent attacks on schools as this will affect retention rates for girls to a large extent. Now that schools have reopened, we have been able to enroll 80 girls across three communities who have varying needs including finance, lack of support systems, and family expectations to prioritize other things besides education such as marriage and economic activities that will supplement the family's income. Meet some of our beneficiaries below:

18year old Hussaina from Nassarawa community dropped out of school 2years ago just about the time she was to write her Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, a qualifying examination that allows you to proceed to a tertiary institution. Her dad who was their primary breadwinner died in an accident and she and her sister had to stop school as their mother who is a petty trader could not afford to keep all 5 children in school.

For 17year old Judith, remaining in school became impossible as she had to get a job to contribute to the family’s upkeep after her father, a single parent lost his job and became disabled. Thankfully, we have re-enrolled and provided her with all that she will need to remain in school.  

In 16year old Sarah’s case, she dropped out of school when she got pregnant at 14. As a result, she became estranged from her family and could not afford to enroll back afterward.  In addition to providing the materials she would need in school, we are facilitating dialogue and reconciliation conversations with her family so that she gets all the support she needs.

Each of the 80 girls has a unique story and experience that has led them to the current circumstance of being out of school. Your generous support has made their re-enrolment possible and given them a second chance at getting an education.    

We are also pleased to have the support of community members and key community influencers who have pledged to ensure that the girls are able to settle in and do not experience other barriers. And have also pledged to continue with advocacy messages to bring more girls to school.

We could not have done this without you!

Young girls with support from community champions
Young girls with support from community champions
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Monitoring visit to see beneficiaries
Monitoring visit to see beneficiaries

Yes you made it happen! With your generous support, we have successfully procured and are in the process of distributing exercise books and other scholarly materials including school bags and footwears to 80 adolescent girls from communities in Rido, Nassarawa and Kudenda districts in Kaduna State. School closures as a result of the pandemic although necessary brought significant disruptions to education. The failure from the government to produce policy measures to mitigate the impact on education through ensuring access to digital learning as an alternative method to physical teaching especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the society worsened an already bad situation and placed girls from vulnerable household without access to learning and placed them at risk of never continuing school. To mitigate the likelihood of young girls not returning back to school post closures, we embarked on intensive sensitization campaigns in communities emphasizing the importance of girleducation and the need to prioritize girls return to school despite the challenges the pandemic had caused.

In addition to engaging directly with young girls, we also engaged with their parents and guardians on the importance of education and the need to make returning back to school post pandemic as much a priority for girls as it is for boys. In the course of our awareness campaigns, we recorded over 100 individuals who pledged their commitment to re-enroll their girls. We also identified 129 young girls who had discontinued learning for various reasons such as lack of funds to pay the levies that were being charged even though education is meant to be free for indigenous girls.  Belinda is one of such girls. Her father was a factory worker and her mother, a petty trader. Both became temporarily unemployed due to the lock down. With no other way to cater for his 5 children and his wife, Belinda’s Father had to spend the money he had set aside for her external examination fees that will earn her the Secondary School Leaving Certificate that she would need to proceed to a tertiary institution. As a result, she was unable to write the qualifying examinations. “I do not blame my father, I know he loves me and will find a way soon” Belinda says with a hopeful voice. Unfortunately, almost one full year later and her Father has been unable to re-enroll her back into school. Thanks to the generous gifts and support from our donors, Belinda will be also be registering to sit for the examination as soon as registrations for the next examination begins. She will also get the funds to enroll in tutorship classes to bring her back to speed after taking time off.

Also, remember Aisha who was forcefully betrothed and Maryam who didn’t think she was good enough for formal education from our last report? Thanks to your generous gifts, we are able to keep track of their progress in school and continue to provide support. Truly, it is outcomes like these that motivate and encourage us to continue and donations like yours put smile on the faces of adolescent girls. Thank you for your support.

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Community Champions Sensitizing community members
Community Champions Sensitizing community members

Yes! through your generosity,  we have secured resumption for three(3) girls and have reduced the drop out rate by 3 in Nassarawa Community, Kaduna State Nigeria as part of our community efforts at promoting educational recovery post pandemic/school closure.

According to UNESCO, in 2020, the pandemic resulted in an unprecedented global learning disruption and school closures that affected over 1.6 billion learners in over 190 countries. As the virus resurges, around 1 billion students continue to be affected by the full or partial closure of schools and universities, increasing the risk of learning loss, dropping out of education and social isolation. UNESCO is scheduled to release new comprehensive data, that shows an average loss of 100 school days for students globally.

The Pandemic has certainly highlighted the ills of not investing in modern educational strategies. Limited access to distance learning initiatives are stopping many children from continuing their studies at home and this has further tipped the scales against children from poor and vulnerable households. It has also dealt a huge blow to the strides gained in making education accessible to all and improving school enrolment rates for young girls in particular who face many barriers to education which includes the gender bias that prioritizes boy's education over girls’. 

While we realize that government and institutions have a huge road to play to build back more resilient and inclusive education systems, allocate increased financing and best practices in equitable education funding that effectively serves the most disadvantaged, our work in the community has shown us over time, that there are individual and community level factors that stand as barriers to school enrollment rates for girls even if other enabling institutional and systemic gaps are bridged..

Thus EVA has channeled efforts to support community influencers and key authority figures in 3 communities to hold dialogues and sensitizations in small groups where they are able to sensitize parents and guardians on the need to not only engage their wards in creative learning alternatives during this period, but to stimulate their commitments and actions to ensure educational recovery, increase inclusion and reduce drop-out rates after schools reopen.

In the aftermath of the dialogues and sensitization, the community champions have intervened in and mediated in the case of Three (3) adolescent girls between the ages of 13-16, who had been betrothed forcefully as an alternative to schooling. Among the champions are religious leaders whose influence had a huge impact in the reorientation of the parents involved and especially in these communities who hold strong religious beliefs and sentiments. For Aisha, Bilkisu and Rabia, that would have been the end of formal schooling since they will have to settle into their new roles as wives and possibly caregivers /mothers, we are grateful for your support that has changed this narrative for them.

 With your generous donations, we can keep supporting our champions with the resources and materials they need to ensure that no child is left behind in these communities as the world over strives on our collective education recovery journey

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Sustaining Girl’s Education Post Pandemic

All over the world, countries have shut down schools in efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19. While this will be a temporary situation for the majority of students, lessons learnt from the Ebola crisis reveals the pandemic will have lasting and far reaching effects for the most marginalized girls. It is estimated that 20 million more secondary school-aged girls all over the world could be out of school after the crisis has passed. This conclusion is attributed to impacts of the pandemic on households such as increased rates of poverty, household responsibilities, child labour and teenage pregnancy in addition to restrictive school policies as well as the already existing gender inequality that inhibits girl's on access to education. The pandemic has also reduced funding for education as governments have diverted funds to public health which puts a strain on pre-existing teacher shortage.

In Kaduna State, yearly school census records have consistently shown enrolment rate for school girls to be significantly lower than for boys. In 2017, net enrolment for girls was about 70% while for Boys was 86%, more worrisome was the high number of girls who dropped out or failed to return. While Kaduna State has made commendable efforts at promoting Girl’s education through its free education policy,a sizeable number of children, especially girls, remain out of school owing to a number of reasons which include demands for their labour in the home as care givers for the elderly or younger siblings; child marriage, doing house chores, helping to run small business and contribute financially, death of one parent and so on. Many of these are stepped in patriarchal societal viewpoints which favour boys over girls.

Aggressive awareness campaigns in communities, local government and at the state level is necessary to inform communities about the importance of girl’s education, and the need to prioritize girls return to school post pandemic despite the challenges inorder to ensure that young girls in all their diversities can return back to school when they reopen.

It is on this note that EVA is channeling efforts to engage communities especially local leaders and people who are influential in the different pressure groups of a community.Our strategy is based on the belief that local leaders best understand the needs of girls in their community, the barriers that keep them out of school and how to overcome these obstacles. Our goal is to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on Girl’s education in Kaduna is mitigated and more girls are willing and able to return back to school when they re-open.

We have been able to reach about 120 girls between the ages of 10-24 from vulnerable and poor communities who have pledged their commitment to return back to school when they re-open. Worthy of note is that out of this number, 8 of the girls had been out of school before the onset of pandemic for a number of reasons one of which is a lack of funds to afford books and scholarly materials for school. We have committed to ensuring these needs are catered to and have procured the needed items for 5 students. For Maryam, a 15 year old girl from Rido community, the case is slightly different.  While Maryam’s parents could afford to buy books and other materials she needed in school, Maryam had dropped out of school because “I didn’t feel I belonged. I wasn’t doing well at all and I do not think I am smart enough to be in school. I would rather learn a trade”. Deeper conversations with Maryam revealed that there were some subjects she liked and did well in. She was encouraged to return back and seek tutoring help from her peers and teachers where she was experiencing challenges with comprehension. She has committed to returning back by Oct 12 when schools re-open.  

In addition to engaging directly with young girls, we are also actively engaging parents and guardians of the girls on the importance of education and the need to make returning back to school post pandemic as much a priority for girls as it is for goys. All of these efforts are geared towards ensuring the strides accomplished with regards to increasing access to education for young girls is not lost due to the pandemic.  With your help, we believe we can reach more communities with messages on the importance of girl’s education, get more parents/guardians and the girls themselves to commit to returning back to school and provide scholarly materials to those who need them.

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After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on 11th March 2020, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Lagos State on 27 February 2020. To respond to the looming possible spread of the disease, Federal Government of Nigeria took a series of steps one of which was to temporarily close down schools all over the country.

According to a report by UNESCO, 89% of children are currently out of school as a result of the COVID-19 closures. This percentage represents about 1.54 billion children and youth in primary, secondary and university. This includes nearly 743 million girls.

While recognizing the importance and necessity of initiating the closure of schools as a measure to curb the spread of the virus, this shutting down will affect populations differently and could further exacerbate the existing disparities with regards to girls' access to education. While some girls will continue with their education as soon as the pandemic is over and the gates of the schools reopen, others may never be able to return to school as a result of the effects such as parents losing sources of income and in some cases the disruption could bring suitors who may be accepted given that education is seen as an informal escape route to early marriage because ‘schooling’ is one of the major reasons given for the delay in getting the girl child married early.

Girl Child education has been an area of long-term advocacy by nongovernmental organizations and development partners in Nigeria. While there have been several attempts at improving the registration rates of girls in schools, the current pandemic can set back the progress that has been made. To mitigate this as much as possible, It became important for the education authorities to consider innovative ways of ensuring education continuity.

Globally, schools have tried to ensure continuity by switching to online learning. In Nigeria, to bridge the gap, Educational authorities are broadcasting lessons on state run television and radio stations. While this is laudable, access to these broadcasts are still a challenge for children in poor and remote households who are without electricity or cannot afford to own electronic appliances thus millions of children without remote- learning access have been left behind.

Education as a Vaccine has leveraged on these educational broadcasts to create an enabling environment for its beneficiaries in Kakuri, Tudun wada and Doka Communities of Kaduna state to have access to the virtual classes been broadcasted through disseminating information of its availability and platforms where it can be accessed , consistent updates of the airing times and schedule and providing data cost subsidies to those who have internet enabled phones to access other educational resources. Furthermore, we have pooled virtual resources that exist such as telecommunication student promo bonuses and packages and other sponsored resources to expand the available learning opportunities for AGYW in these communities. All this is done in a bid to ensure that learning continues and the post pandemic back to school transmission is smooth. In preparation for eventual re-opening of schools, arrangements are being made to support an additional 10 girls with scholarly materials in school, some supplies have been procured ahead of the school year and additional supplies will be purchased.

We have also put in place measures to respond to occurrence of Sexual and Gender Based violence (SGBV) in the communities. All over the world including Nigeria we have seen a rise in cases of SGBV due to the lockdown situation and the need to limit social interactions. Recognizing the need to ensure that Adolescent girls and young women in the communities we work in could be at risk of experiencing SGBV, to respond to this need, we have made available SGBV awareness and prevention information, including links to service providers such as the Sexual Assault and Referral centers (SARC), and also virtual counselling services. Members of the community who have also been trained to serve as custodians of the rights of women and girls have also been supported to report and refer cases of SGBV that occur in their communities. At a time when survivors could be potentially isolated from support systems and locked down with abusers, this will go a long way to provide a community based rapid response system of support for women and girls exposed to/or experiencing violence.

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Organization Information

Education as a Vaccine

Location: Abuja, FCT - Nigeria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @EVA_Nigeria
Project Leader:
Chinelo Frank
Abuja, FCT Nigeria
$6,437 raised of $10,000 goal
 
48 donations
$3,563 to go
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