50,000 Nigerian children helped by Safe Schools Initiative

Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies, Gordon Brown, Safe schools

Nigerian children at tented class in Adawama state Picture: UNICEF/Rich

Almost 50,000 children displaced from their homes in Nigeria by Boko Haram have been helped by the Safe Schools Initiative.

That includes distributing learning materials, training teachers and moving 2400 of the most at-risk girls and boys to schools in safer parts of the country.

The success of the initiative was announced today – 500 days since the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted – by Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

In a statement read at the UN, he said the 219 missing Chibok girls are at risk of trafficking, forced marriage and other forms of exploitation. 

Mr Brown added: “These were some of Nigeria’s most courageous young women who wanted nothing more than an education to build a better future for themselves and their families and make their community and country stronger. 

“Through prayer services, candlelight vigils, marches and even a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, this Week of Action culminating on Day 500, led by the Bring Back Our Girls movement, has shown that people from across the world will not forget the girls of Chibok.”

The UN envoy announced the success of the Safe Schools Initiative partnership, catalysed by the Global Business Coalition for Education with the Nigerian government, and supported by UNICEF, UNDP and multiple donor agencies from across the world.

He said: “It has now supported nearly 50,000 young girls and boys, displaced by the violence of Boko Haram, receive an education. Thanks to the campaigns led by A World at School, donors have contributed resources to:

  • “Distribute learning materials, including 35,000 bags, children displaced by the violence
  • “Train 683 teachers to teach the internally displaced children in double-shift schools in safer communities
  • “Transfer 2400 of the most at-risk girls and boys to safer schools in other parts of the country
  • “Pilot new interventions for making schools safe
  • “Establish new state coordination committees to oversee Safe Schools Initiative interventions
  • “Approve a reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok.”

As people held vigils in the Nigerian capital Abuja and across the world to mark the 500-day anniversary, Mr Brown said: “I urge all donors to remember the girls of Chibok and to support the Safe Schools Initiative Multi-Donor Trust Fund so that we can work together to make it possible for more children in Nigeria to safely go to school and learn.”

Read about the 500-day vigils for the missing Chibok girls and Sarah Brown’s blog on how the Safe Schools Initiative is making real progress.

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