The World Bank recently stated that Nigeria currently has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, with about eighteen (18) million children not in school with 2 out of every 3 out-of-school children in Nigeria being a girl, making up 62% of the number of out-of-school children. To address this educational crisis, we created the Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Education project that seeks to foster the informed decision making ability of young girls using education as a tool. The project seeks to increase the number of in-school girls in Nigeria by 1000, over the course of three (3) years by covering the financial cost of enrolment and retention, as well as advocating for community buy-in, by training Girl Child Education champions within their communities to encourage the enrolment and retention of Out-of-school girls.
The project is currently being implemented at the Wassa Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp in FCT, Abuja, Nigeria, where there is an estimated number of over 600 out of school girls, who are likely to be married off before they are 18years of age with most of them bearing more than 6 children before age 25. The community was selected in hopes that by educating the girl child, they have a firmer voice in the discussion of their future as recent research has shown that each year of secondary school attended reduces a girl’s likelihood of being married off before 18years by 5% points or more.
The project was able to identify about 120 out of school girls within the camp, whose parents are willing that they be enrolled back into school. Out of the 60 girls available to be interviewed, only six (6) girls were literate enough to be enrolled into school, with four (4) currently enrolled in secondary school. However, it was identified that out of the 60 girls interviewed, 90% of them had little to no literacy or numeracy skill. This led the organization to create a Girls’ Safe Space, to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of the identified girls within the camp in a bid to facilitate enrolment upon proof of improvement. Understanding the nuance of the community of action, by conducting a needs assessment and/or problem analysis plays a pivotal role in shaping the project’s trajectory and management.
The project is working with the camp leadership and members to create an enabling and safe environment for the out of school girls within the camp to improve their literacy skills as well as life skills, providing them with skills to speak up for themselves as well as the push to pursue whatever career path they choose.
The project is currently fundraising towards ensuring that 1000 girls in Nigeria are enrolled back into school, with the cost of enrolment for one (1) girl being N100, 000.00. With as much as N500, you can donate towards the enrolment of one girl in school.
Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative is a registered youth led organization dedicated to ensuring that every girl in Nigeria no matter where she is born or found is empowered to fulfill her maximum potentials. Its goal is to promote a safe and supportive environment for the social, economic, academic and healthy development of girls in Nigeria.