Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility. – UNESCO

Monday, the 24th January 2022 marked a very special day on the United Nations’ calendar as it held the celebration of the International Day of Education. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.

As an organization whose core purpose focuses strongly on education, the day presents us with opportunity to re-echo our unyielding belief that education is the pillar upon which an effective and productive human capital driving transformational socio-economic development globally can be built.

Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

Today, according to UNESCO, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school.

Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.

Since 2014, through the Skills Outside School Foundation’s Bridge Program, we have designed and implemented data driven interventions exposing youth in state secondary schools through workshops deployed by trained school teachers/trainers and opportunities through partners and mentors to build them on Life Skills, Career Awareness and Skills Development; Academic Skills, Technical, Vocational and Enterprise Skills.

Our content and model comes from our 7 years’ experience in education, entrepreneurship and employability as an organization, a board and management team with combined 60+ years of not profit, public and private experience, whilst leveraging on trainers, advisors, consultants and mentors.

Reflecting on our progress and accomplishments in achieving our organizational goal, particularly working with underserved students in secondary schools across Nigeria, we take a look at the significant steps we took last year, 2021, some of the feats we achieved and the gaps we have covered:

Bridge Kebbi Baseline Survey

Following the success of the Bridge Program in FCT, Abuja as a pioneering state, the Skills Outside School Foundation in expanding the Bridge Program and its benefits to other states in Nigeria, last year successfully carried out and published the Bridge Kebbi State Baseline Survey which serves as a factual basis on the need for the program in the state. The objectives of the Kebbi State education Baseline Survey include;

  • To ascertain the educational level and major concerns in participating schools.
  • To ascertain the extent of extracurricular, co-curricular and life skill activities engagement in participating schools.
  • To ascertain teacher capacity in relation to lessons delivery.
  • To find out factors and available institutions in the community that influence career choices.
  • To ascertain students’ technical / vocational skills development.
  • To establish the extent of Infrastructure availability in the schools.
  • To understand the extent of community-school interaction.

Download the Survey here

N5, 000, 000 Raised for Bridge Program in Northern Nigeria

To expand the Bridge Program to Northern Nigeria, through GlobalGiving and individual donors, we were able to raise N5,000,000 to train 500 disadvantaged students in North-Nigeria aged (12-18 years) in a community allowing their parents, peers and community members experience the advantages of education when these students start businesses, further their education and earn a source of livelihood for themselves whilst contributing positively to their community. Read more here

UNICEF Partnership

Last year, we became part of the UNICE multi-faceted project which was deployed in a number of Northern states. The project includes He4She, Girls’ Education Project (GEP) and G4G.

According to UNICEF, the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with UBEC, FME and NMEC and funded by DFID seeks to improve school access, retention and learning outcomes for girls in five northern Nigerian states (Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara). GEP 3 is an eight-year project (2012–2020) with the aim of supporting the Government of Nigeria to expand access to one million girls in northern states where a large number of girls are out of school.

The overall aim of the G4G initiative is to encourage girls’ enrolment in school retention and completion of basic education. The G4G initiative has 4 strands (The Mentors, The Mothers Association, The Male Champions and The He4She group), each of which plays a part in the overall aim of G4G initiative. 

The He4She group is a support system of boys who support the enrolment, retention and completion of basic education of the girls in schools. Over the years, the intervention has been implemented and supported in five GEP states, the success of the intervention has led to scaled up of the initiative in Northeast; Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Based on this premise, UNICEF in collaboration with other stakeholders organized a refresher training of trainers on the KFW He4She project in Yobe state. As a key stakeholder, we were invited to participate as Resource persons delivering key training on a number of salient topics within one of our 3 Es which is education.

10 Radio Discussions

Leveraging the impact of traditional media, the organization, over the last year through different team members and other resource persons maximized the opportunities provided by the over 10 radio stations we appeared on to reach thousands of listeners across Nigeria especially in the FCT.

This was in a bid to bring to life our budding “Capacity Development Series”, an SOSF initiative which seeks to utilize traditional media to constructively and intentionally equip our target audience with requisite skills within our core focuses which are education, employability and entrepreneurship.

This initiative makes available our media-centric and virtual ready trainings and programs to thousands of potential beneficiaries of our programs who may not have ready access to our on-site or digital interventions.

Ambassadors’ Support & Scholarship

Following our resolve to provide continuous support to our Ambassadors, the Skills Outside School Foundation has for the last few months supported a number of our Bridge Ambassadors by providing them with scholarships while paying some of their tuition fees worth over N300,000.00. This support is provided to ambassadors who are facing challenges making their way through school.

Bridge Virtual Enterprise Training

The Bridge program engages with its ambassadors through a weekly continuous education on the WhatsApp platform. So far 109 ambassadors online had been engaged. The Bridge enterprise training is geared towards building the entrepreneurial mindset of its ambassadors to gain enterprise skills through mentorship and access funding to scale their business ideas. The impact of the Bridge enterprise training has seen ambassadors like;

  • Micheal Onoja- Evolve Nigeria
  • Oluwaseto Victoria – A Graphic Designer.
  • Isah Munirat- Nira’s Touch, a chain of body care products
  • Innocent Anniekan- Africa Change makers, a social enterprise
  • Yahaya Hammeedah – retails perfumes
  • Prudence Gilbert – Prudytube, blogging site
  • Chisom Mba – MCM foods
  • Edet Isiting – Content creator, Eddywrytes
  • Edidiong Idongesit – Book club.
  • Stanley Wealth Monday – Kingwealth, a body fitness specialist and mixiologist

Through the Bridge enterprise training, ambassadors had acquired relevant entrepreneurial skills to start, sustain and scale their businesses.

As we celebrate this year’s International Day of Education while setting up structures and working out modalities to improve on our efforts, grow our impact and expand our reach, we call on you to support us as we expose youths in state secondary schools through workshops deployed by trained school teachers/trainers and opportunities through partners and mentors to build them on Life Skills, Career Awareness and Skills Development; Academic Skills, Technical, Vocational and Enterprise Skills.

We still believe that a productive human capital is only possible by knowledge gained through formal or informal education. This is why at Skills Outside School Foundation, we wake up daily with zeal to come to work, to design and implement impact driven and data based interventions geared towards building a productive human capital driving social-economic development globally.

Happy International Day of Education in Retrospect.

Maureen Chukwuemeka,

Chief Executive Officer, Skills Outside School Foundation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *