About The Initiative & What We Want To Achieve:
A survey conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicates that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world. Most of these children are in Nigeria's northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where Boko Haram insecurities have disrupted academic activities. The rest are due the harsh economic conditions.
Most of the children are out of school while some have never been to school all their life!
Nigeria's budgetary spending on education is not enough to quell the widening gap; only 7% of Nigeria's 2020 budget was earmarked for education. So far, there appear to be no new policies to boost education spending, and no hope in sight for these kids. This has given rise to different social and economic problems, including insecurity and poverty.
GEF came up with a strategic initiative to work with some of the most at-risk local communities, to send some of these kids to school.
Due to limited funds, we organise exam competitions annually and select the best candidates. However, owing to the fact that most of these kids have never been to school or have spent years out of school, this strategy though democratic doesn’t seem fair. We are earnestly amplifying our efforts and capacity to be able to help more children and give them a fair fighting chance in life.
We want to consistently and strategically lower the number of out of school children especially in poor communities. With the funds we will be able to send more kids to school instead of the annual selections we do. Sending out-of-school children to school entails paying their fees and also providing education materials like school uniforms, text books, note books, health insurance etc.
The specific objective of this initiative is to initiate the community to advocate for support for a good cause, by donations.
The Age Range of Children: 3 to 15 (from elementary to secondary school)
Why is This Important?
Education is the most vital change agent, especially in the Nigerian context. This is so because the lack of it doesn’t just produce unskilled and unemployed people, it directly leads to rise in more desperate social and economic problems like insecurity (terrorism, prostitution, banditry and armed robbery) and poverty. Human capital is a key factor for growth, development, and competitiveness. More so in recent times, within the modern context of development, human capital forms the base of economic growth, and basic education is an important part of that.
One of our beneficiaries said, "I want to be a medical scientist in the future, but now I'm not going to school, I don't know how I'll be a medical scientist." 10 years down the line, education will be the deciding factor between this child becoming an armed robber, a terrorist or a responsible adult if not a medical scientist. We have seen this too many times.
60% of the 13.2 million out of school children are girls, and in the Nigerian context, most girls become mothers or women who will in turn take care of other children. For a woman who went to school it creates a positive socio-economic ripple effect. She has basic education, she is skilled, she can communicate basic English and mathematics, and she is gainfully employed. This will in-turn curb all the negative ripple effects of not getting basic education, which ranges from unemployment to death.
The GEF team is led by Onyekachi Ezulike, Adannna Umeh and Ifeanyi Nweke, the leader of Everyone Matter Movement. They lead teams of young, vibrant and passionate volunteers with a combined 50 years of experience in sustainable community development, child education, youth employability and economic development. Onyekachi founded GEF to reach out to the most at-risk communities and target children and young people. He is passionate about empowering children’s dreams through education, youth employability and economic empowerment.