School-In-A-Bag is a project that seeks to encourage education for school age children in Nigeria, especially girls, whose education is affected as a result of economic hardship, insurgency, mass atrocity, internal displacement, child labour, unfavourable traditional practices, cultural beliefs, and/or early/forced marriages (for girls).
In 2013, UNESCO reported that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world with an alarming figure of over 10.5 million. It is presumed that this figure would have increased as a result of the festering insurgency in North East, Nigeria. Recent abduction of school children, as well as coordinated attacks on schools, resulting in incessant killings of school children, forces several parents to withdraw their children from school while several schools are shut down until security and normalcy is restored to the region. The continuous growth in Nigeria’s population has also been a major contributing factor to the deteriorating educational system in Nigeria, as this forces a reduction in budgetary allocation for education as well as deprioritization of education especially in regions with low enrolment and attendance rate.
Furthermore, another recent report by UNICEF shows that “Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school; with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. Despite a significant increase in net enrollment rates in recent years, it is estimated that about 4.7 million children of primary school age are still not in school. Even when children enroll in schools, many do not complete the primary cycle. According to current data, 30% of pupils drop out of primary school and only 54% transit to Junior Secondary Schools. Reasons for this low completion rate include child labour, economic hardship and early marriage for girls.”
In light of the aforementioned challenges, the School-In-A-Bag Project is designed as an intervention where school bags, loaded with relevant school materials, are distributed to affected school children as a way to encourage, as well as reawaken the quest for education among school-age children.
The School-In-A-Bag Project aims to:
- Re-ignite the interest and quest for education among out-of-school children.
- Encourage education for school-age children, who are unable to enroll or attend school for one reason or the other.
- Motivate parents to consider, appreciate, and ensure formal education for their school-age children.
- Assist and motivate in-school children who lack sufficient materials for their education.
- Contribute to achieving the Education For All goal of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Target beneficiaries for the School-In-A-Bag Project are school-age children in Nigeria between ages 6 – 17; that is: 6 – 11 (primary), 12-14 (junior secondary), 15 – 17 (senior secondary); who are:
- Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other school-age victims of crisis;
- Drop outs/out-of-school children;
- School age but not enrolled in school; and
- Underserved in-school children in rural communities.
Note: While spreading across Nigeria, we are concentrating more on the North West and North East regions as they record higher percentages of the above categories of beneficiaries.
Content of a School Bag
A typical School-In-A-Bag would contain:
- Exercise Books (combination of plain, lined, and checkered)
- Drawing Book
- Pencil Case (pencils, eraser, sharpener, ruler, and pens for older ones)
- Long Ruler
- Lunch Plate with spoon & fork
- Water Bottle (unbreakable)
- Solar-Powered Reading Lamp
- Light nylon rain coat
- Basic Text Books (Mathematics, English, and Sciences. Age appropriate.)
- Coloring Book (for 6 – 11 years)
- Crayons (for 6 – 11 years)
- Story Books (for 6 – 11 years)
- Mathematical Sets (for 12 – 14 and 15 – 17 years)
- Scientific Calculator (for 12 – 14 and 15 – 17 years)
Each School-In-A-Bag, costs:
The above cost covers the school bag and its content as well as administrative/logistics cost.
We would be working with local schools, NGOs, and existing projects that are currently working with or focused on children in any of the targeted categories. Such organizations would undergo our ‘Verification and Credibility Check’ before being enlisted as a partner. The school bags would be distributed directly to the benefitting children through the enlisted partners.
Also, in schools where there are no basic learning facilities (e.g. benches, desks, blackboard, drinkable water, toilet facilities, etc), we would endeavour to provide what’s within our capacity while lobbying and pressurizing relevant authorities to provide such facilities.
In few, selected cases where children have other basic educational needs, like school uniforms, shoes, enrolment fees, examination fees, etc, we would support their parents with funds to meet such needs.
It is expected that the School-In-A-Bag Project would directly and indirectly result in the following:
Increased interest and yearning for education among direct benefitting children;
Improved learning ability for the direct beneficiaries;
Increase school enrollment and attendance rate; and
Low school drop-out rate.