By Dauda Iliya
The United Nations Children Education Fund UNICEF has provided classrooms and toilet facilities to about 20,000 children across six local government areas in Borno state.
The local government areas are Gwoza, Hawul, Mobbar, Monguno, Jere and Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.
The project which is funded by the European Union and Implemented by UNICEF through state and local partnerswill provide immediate relief to children in some of the most hard-to-reach areas in the state.
In a statement, UNICEF says it has handed over 116 newly constructed and renovated classrooms as well as 53 latrines to the Borno State Universal Basic Education Board.
According to the statement, the facilities will support girls’ education, reduce classroom congestion, and improve access and retention of conflict-affected children in school.
It adds that since 2009, over 1,400 schools have been destroyed and 2,295 teachers killed across the North-East in protracted conflict.
Attacks by armed groups on education and school facilities, the influx of internally displaced families into metropolitan cities and population growth have also stretched existing school structures to the limit, creating challenges of access, retention, and school completion.
The Head of Health, Nutrition, Resilience and Human Development at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Montse Pantaleoni, lauded the initiative and said the EU and its member states are committed to supporting the government of Nigeria in the area of education, including the strengthening of Education Management Information System for longer term benefits in the sector.
“Education is a fundamental human right and investing in people is the most important investment any government could make for its citizens. Getting a number of out-of-school children back to school, and especially keeping the girls longer in school will contribute to better parenthood and reduce the effects of poverty that fuels protracted insurgency,’’ said Montse Pantaleoni.
The projects are components of a three-year €10 million European Union Support to Early Recovery and Resilience package to UNICEF to support children, youths, and communities in Borno State.