On May 27, every year since 1964, Nigeria pauses for a moment to celebrate all the nation’s children, affirming publicly that the key to Nigeria’s future, is wrapped up in the futures of every single child in the country. Children’s Day presents an opportunity to not only celebrate children, but highlight the many challenges they face and the efforts that government, non-government agencies, civil societies and the private sector can make to improve the condition of the country’s children as a whole.
To lay the foundation for a bright and prosperous future, next to food, shelter and healthcare, one of the basic rights of children everywhere is the right to education. Having an education ensures that children grow into youth and adults that are able to access all of their other human rights. Education reduces poverty, decreases social inequalities, empowers women and helps each individual reach their full potential. It also brings significant economic returns for a country and helps societies to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development. Education is key to achieving all other human rights.
Currently, Nigeria’s children are in crises when it comes to education. One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children resides in Nigeria. Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the Nigeria’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education. In the north of the country, the picture is even bleaker, with a net attendance rate of 53 percent. Getting out-of-school children back into education poses a massive challenge.
How can this crises be abated? Education must once again rise to the top of Nigeria’s development agenda to ensure that we do not lose an entire generation of children. This calls for all hands on deck to work together to create an enabling environment for education, improve the quality of Nigeria’s educational system and to increase the demand for education.
Since its inception in 2016, Give Girls A Chance Foundation has been working to improve access to quality education for girls from low-income families in Nigeria. By leveraging the efforts of a dedicated team of mentors and volunteers worldwide, to date the organization has provided scholarship and mentoring to 50 primary and secondary school girls across 3 schools in Abuja. Through its outreach programs, including a Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Campaign, an Essay Competition and events around Women’s Day, Children’s Day and Youth Day, the organization has reached over 500 students, 50 teachers and school administrators and parents to advocate for the importance of girl-child education and raise awareness and support for the cause.
We believe that the mind is a terrible thing to waste and we truly believe that we owe it to our girls, and indeed to all of Nigeria’s children, to ensure that they have access to the best education possible to enable them realize their full potential and be well poised to contribute to the success of our great country, Nigeria.
Happy Children’s Day!
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