Nigeria, Others to Benefit from $1.8bn Out-of-School Children Fund


By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

Nigeria, Ghana and 48 other countries across the world are to benefit from a $1.8 billion fund of  the Education Above All (EAA) under its Educate A Child (EAC) programme specifically targeting out-of-school children globally.

The EAA founder, Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, who disclosed this in New York, United States of America, said the programme is targeting 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, Ghana and other countries across

Sheikha Moza who is also a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate and Chairperson of EAA Foundation, alongside partners, announced that 10 million out-of-school children in some of the most challenging situations around the world, will receive quality primary education.

In an event that saw the gathering of world leaders at the New York Public Library, Sheikha Moza said: “We did not achieve this remarkable goal by snapping our fingers or by just writing cheques.”

EAA’s Educate A Child programme has over 80 global partners, and operates with 42 of them in 50 countries, to tackle the barriers to education and close the gap on the 63 million out of school children.

“I have watched as schools were built from scratch… I have listened to lessons taught under the shade of a tree.

“The desire to learn is one of the most powerful forces of human nature is in every child.

“Helping children fulfil that innate desire is the responsibility of us all, Moza said.

With a total of over $1.8 billion invested to reach the milestone, EAC has already enrolled over six million children worldwide in areas affected by poverty, discrimination, natural disaster, and conflict.

Securing commitments to reach 10 million fulfils Moza’s 2012 promise and demonstrates that progress is possible, even amid the worsening education crisis it is understood.

Moza called for more partners to replicate and scale up EAC’s successful formula as “the world is not a safe place, yet, adding that millions of children are still waiting and in desperate need of our help.

“Let’s work together to ensure a better future for all of them and for the world we share. Believe me, it is possible,” she appealed.

At the event, United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, spoke on the power of education, saying, “Our dream of a sustainable future cannot be realized if we do not support children’s dreams to gain an education.

“When we educate a child we give her more than books, papers, pencils or a calculator. 

“We give her the tools, skills and imagination she needs to shape the world around her and to make her community, and her society, better, more prosperous and more peaceful.”

The event brought together high-level attendees such as the President of Ghana, Mr. Nana Akufo-Addo; model and philanthropist, Ms. Naomi Campbell, as well as international and local non-governmental organisations, development agencies, development banks, governments and private sector companies from countries as widespread as Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Kenya, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

EAC works side-by-side with children, their families, communities, governments and partners, to identify barriers to education and support children to overcome them.

The successful partnership approach allows for EAC to take local knowledge and expertise from the community itself and scale it up using multi-sector solutions.

EAC has focused on enrolling hard-to-reach marginalised children, children in poverty, or those who face social or cultural barriers to education, and children living in crisis and conflict-affected environments.

Some successful programmes that are being implemented by the foundation include children living in rural remote areas far from school buildings, such as nomadic populations in Mali.

Also, children living in areas where the natural environment is challenging, such as the flood plains of Bangladesh, and children living in conflict-affected areas where schools cannot operate, such as Syria and Yemen.

The foundation also covers children living in densely populated urban areas where schools may be over-crowded and dangerous, such as the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Also, children living in severe poverty and might have to work instead of going to school, such as children in domestic labour in Haiti.

Nigeria accounts for a huge number of out-of-school children, especially in the North-east which has been ravaged by poverty, religious extremism, hunger, diseases and recently violence.

A combination of these factors have forced millions of children out of school, an area the foundation is targeting so as to mitigate the use of these children for terrorism purpose.