If Education is indeed a basic human right, then the rights of millions of children who live in hard-to-reach, low-income and conflict-stricken communities of Nigeria is being trampled upon. More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 85 per cent of children in sub-Saharan Africa are not learning the minimum proficiency.
Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, with many experiencing disrupted learning and empowerment, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. Children from the poorest households are up to four times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households.
Disparities between rural and urban areas also remain high. In these current times, the role of education has become more pronounced as a driver of inclusion, economic growth, political participation and sustainable development. But for rural women, vulnerable adolescent girls and at-risk youth who can not access education, training and employment opportunities, their chances to contribute to a just, peaceful and inclusive world is limited.
With our work, we are leveraging collaboration, innovation and technology to ensure access to quality learning, vocational, entrepreneurship and life skills training for many who have been left behind.
In today’s world, 75 million children remain out of school and millions more young people leave school without a level of literacy adequate for productive participation in their societies. According to a 2020 UNICEF, millions of Nigerian children aged between the ages of 5 and 14are not in school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months are receiving early childhood education in Nigeria. Although literacy is an essential requirement for lifelong learning and a vital means of human development, more than 50% of children in Primary 1 to Primary 3 can not read a word and 60% of grade 3 children can not complete a single-digit addition problem.
If truly literacy leads to empowerment, and the right to education includes the right to literacy, it is imperative that we galvanize efforts to help more children develop basic literacy and numeracy skills. With FastTrack, AREAi aims to equip 1,000,000 out-of-school children in marginalized communities with foundational literacy and numeracy skills to engage in future learning for improved educational, employability and livelihood outcomes by 2036.
Today, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly being integrated into all aspects of our daily lives including learning, social, political and economic activities. Digital technologies are now at the forefront of development, offering governments and entrepreneurs a unique chance to boost economic growth, connect citizens to jobs, and strengthen social inclusion. Unfortunately, amid the wave of this digital transformation, many people remain left behind in a chronic digital inequity. The digital divide when viewed through a broader lens of social, economic and cultural factors remains a potent constraint on digital development hence the need to promote effective interventions that seek to put inclusion at the center of digital transformation.
Leveraging innovation, technology and collaboration, we are keen on promoting digital equity and bridging the digital divide between the disadvantaged and affluent communities. In our effort to promote digital inclusion, we underpin 3 strategic processes including scaling digital skills development among the most marginalized groups, driving conversations that aim to promote building digital essentials in underserved communities, and contributing to the existing body of knowledge aimed at crafting a digital compact for inclusive development.
Globally, nearly 130 million girls were out of school before the pandemic — and now research estimates 20 million more girls are at risk of dropping out because of it. In Nigeria, whilst access to school for both boys and girls has increased significantly since 2015, the country still has an estimated over 10.5 million children out of school – more than any other country in the world today. Unfortunately, of this population, out of school girls are the highest with about 5.5million girls not in school. Without access to quality education, girls will be unprepared for the future of work, become threatened by child marriage, and will continue in the cycle of poverty.
Over the next 10 years, we are championing one of Nigeria’s most extensive holistic interventions to increase adolescent girls’ school enrollment, retention, and transition. Through series of gender-responsive policies and practices training, school consultations, community-level outreaches, stakeholders engagement and local grassroots influencing, we plan to implement mechanisms that fosters increased girls attendance/retention in schools while also strengthening schools’ management system, female teachers’ teaching practices and girls’ education focused policies to improve learning quality.
Increasing access to education can improve human capital development of a society, grow economies, and even combat climate change. Yet in many developing countries, many children cannot still access quality education due to numerous factors. Poverty, language barriers, gender roles, and perceived benefit of education can all stall progress to provide quality education. For example, the world’s most vulnerable children from disadvantaged communities in Nigeria are more likely to miss out on school, and this includes young girls and children from low-income families. If Education is indeed a basic human right, then the rights of millions of children who live in hard-to-reach, low-income, and conflict-stricken communities of Nigeria are being trampled upon.
As one of Nigeria’s leading mission driven organizations, one of our strategic mandates is to promote access to quality education for every child through resource mobilization, infrastructural development, and leverage research for policy advocacy to support government led interventions. Over the next 10 years, we plan to develop, deploy and scale digital-based initiatives or low technology-enabled tools to enhance educational access for poor and disadvantaged children across Nigeria.