The Federal Government has commissioned a library in one of the schools for Intenally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja, to address the learning needs of displaced Persons.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim launched the library in Abuja.
Suleiman-Ibrahim said the initiative was part of the Commission’s ‘Project Educate All For Persons of Concerns’ to ensure accelerated learning in emergency settings
“Displacement has an especially negative impact on children. According to UNICEF, about 50% of persons forced to escape their homes as a result of violence are children, and by 2021, 18.5 million children lack access to education owing to criminal gang assaults on schools, with 60% being females. Displacement endangers children’s physical and emotional health, and also complicates child protection.
“Conflict-induced displacement has significant consequences on education for our Persons of Concern, especially refugees and internally Displaced Persons.
” It is our jobs to ensure that these children become the best version of themselves and we can only do so by encouraging them to Read in order to Lead”, she added.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim further disclosed that the commission had built six functional vocational training centres and eight schools in some resettlement cities.
“We are also planning with state governments to build resilience among persons of concern to have copying mechanisms”, she added.
On his part, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on IDPs and refugees, Muhammad Umar Jega, said the library remains the center of academic activities hence its roles and functions cannot be quantified.
Jega described the IDPs as the most vulnerable due to loss of livelihoods, homes and possessions.
“Let me also use this opportunity to emphasize on the roles and use of the library which is the epicenter of reading and writing, room for knowledge, point or reference, documentation, research, social awareness and liberal activities.
“IDPs face numerous barriers to education, especially girls and women. Many of these barriers are similar to those faced by either other conflict and crisis affected by populations”, he said.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, the initiative was in line with UNHCR Education Plan 2013 and SDGs 4, which is a strategy for refugee and IDPs inclusion.
The Assistant Representative, Operations of the UNHCR in Nigeria, Gilbert Mutai who represented the Country Director to Nigeria, Chansa Kapaya said the strategy calls on all States to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong and opportunities for all.
Kapaya disclosed that Nigeria has about 10.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 which are not in school which represents one of the highest in the world.
According to the UNHCR, the ‘Project Educate all Library’ is coming at a point that Nigeria is at the implementing phase of the pledges it made at the Global Forum for Refugees in 2019 to advance the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees.
“Inclusive and equitable access to quality education is necessary for self reliance for IDPs children and youths. And they must be included in quality and early childhood development and education” .
Kapaya added that the goal of reducing the number of out of school children in Nigeria is possible.
The founder of I AM THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA and partner of Project Educate All Library, Senator Frank Ibezim said without proper and organised education no nation will excel and be great.
“Teaching the pupils how to read and write is key to solving the problem if under development in Nigeria. We must attack our foundational challenge through education and this is what the government agency is doing today.
“The introduction of classroom libraries and making sure that teachers will be able to teach our young ones, how to read and write will be what will solve our challenges.”
The theme for the project is ‘Readers are Leaders’