The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has constructed classrooms and toilets in Borno for children affected by the insurgency conflict.
A statement on Friday in Maiduguri by UNICEF, Maiduguri Field Office, Communication Officer, Ms Folashade Adebayo, said the project which would benefit about 20,000 children is funded by European Union.
“At least 20,000 children will benefit from classroom and toilet construction/renovation funded by the European Union in Borno State, North-East Nigeria.
“Implemented by UNICEF through state and local partners, 116 newly constructed/renovated classrooms and 53 latrines have now been handed to the Borno State Universal Basic Education Board.
“The facilities will support girls’ education, reduce classroom congestion, and improve access and retention of conflict-affected children in school.
“Children in Borno State are among the most conflict-affected and educationally disadvantaged in the world. Since 2009, over 1,400 schools have been destroyed and 2,295 teachers killed across the North-East in protracted conflict,” the statement noted.
It observed that attacks by armed groups on education and school facilities and the influx of internally displaced families into metropolitan cities as well as population growth has overstretched existing school structures to the limit, creating challenges of access, retention, and school completion.
The statement noted that the Head of Health, Nutrition, Resilience and Human Development at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Montse Pantaleoni, who hailed the initiative said that, EU and its member states were 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,’’ Pantaleoni was quoted as saying in the statement.
It also quoted Rushman Murtaza, the Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria saying: “For conflict-affected children and their families, education is a lifeline out of generational poverty.
“We are grateful for the funding from the EU to ensure the rights of the children in North-East Nigeria to access quality education.’’