Agency provides education to 80,000 out-of-school youth in Northeast
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided a peaceful environment for basic education and psycho-social support to more than 80,000 out-of-school youth in five conflict-affected states in northeast Nigeria.
A statement by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja quoted ,USAID Mission Director Stephen Haykin as saying this at the Education Crisis Response (ECR) activities in Bauchi and Maiduguri, Borno.
He said that many of the children and youth especially the physically challenged who had been traumatized by violence were unable to access mainstream education.
According to him through the ECR activity, USAID in conjunction with state governments and civil society organizations established 1,400 non-formal learning centers.
The centre he said focused on teaching literacy and basic math, and provided socio-emotional learning activities to counter the negative effects of violent extremism, strengthen participants’ resilience, and build trust.
He said that more than 800 instructors, known as learning facilitators, were trained to staff the centers.
“The three-year, 24.7 million dollars activity was implemented through a collaborative effort involving USAID, state governments and civil society organizations.
“This is done with traditional and religious leaders, community coalitions, International Rescue Committee, Florida State University, the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All, and the Federation of Muslim Women Society in Nigeria,” he said.
“`The Education Crisis Response activity helped to answer widespread demand for quality secular, primary education in northeast Nigeria,” he said.
According to him will maintain its commitment to marginalized children and youth in the northeast and looks forward to continuing our partnership with Nigeria to strengthen education across the country.
He said that for some 22,000 older learners, a nine-month basic education curriculum was complemented by market-oriented vocational skills that helped participants generate income for their families.
“Additional special adolescent girl centres help teenage girls heal, learn, and gain valuable life skills. Other centers were developed specifically for younger girls and boys.
“Through the ECR activity, no fewer than 11,000 teachers in the formal sector received training on socio-emotional learning and enhanced basic education instructional techniques.
“This increased their ability to cope with trauma and enabled them to support displaced learners who moved into mainstream classes,” he said.
According to him an initial assessment showed more than nine out of 10 teachers had experienced trauma themselves as a result of the conflict.
He quoted Lillian, a 14-year old graduate of a learning centre in Bauchi as saying “I am enjoying school now”.
“When I attended previous schools, there was no peace. Now we can give our full attention to the class. We can concentrate and understand what is being taught.
“I will study hard, and hope someday to achieve my ambition of becoming a nurse.”
He said that over the life of ECR, USAID engaged 56 civil society organizations as sub-grantees, boosting their capacity to conduct future education interventions that builds upon the activity’s community-driven, cost-effective approach.
According to him a sustainability plan developed with local government officials will help ensure the success of the Education Crisis Response activity can be duplicated and expanded in the future.