Unicef Wraps Up Skills Acquisition Project For 102,859 Persons, Rolls Out New One to Mainstream Psychosocial Support in Borno Schools

Unicef also introduces the EduTrac tool to make education services more efficient in 10 selected pilot schools

Maiduguri:- Recently, Unicef in Borno state held a press conference to make two key announcements. One to notify the public of an end of a three years project that empowered 102,895 young persons with skills for small scame enterprises; and two, the introduction EduTrac, a unique programme that tracks the education progress of kids in schools where psychosocial supports are mainstreamed in the curriculum.

The new project, EduTrac, is a mobile phone-based data collection system and the mainstreaming of psychosocial support into formal education in Borno State.

“These interventions are landmarks to improve educational planning, expand access to education for conflict-affected children and strengthen learning outcomes while also improving their mental health,” said Paola Ripamonti, Unicef’s Education Manager.

The first project which is wrapping up by the end of May 2023 was funded by the European Union was named the ‘Response, Recovery and Resilience’ project which ensured that vulnerable children in Borno State have equal opportunities for quality education, and be the best version of themselves.

Ripamonti said, “the project has provided 102,859 children (51% girls) with access to inclusive, equitable and quality education in a safe and protective learning environment.”

The Unicef Education manager said the icing of the RRR project was that young girls and women constitute the largest chunk of beneficiaries.

“A total of 29,985 out-of-school youths and adolescents (55% females) were supported with vocational skills, including poultry farming, shoemaking, soap and bag production, tailoring, painting, and interlock tiles production,” she said.

“These youths are back in their communities and earning income to provide for their family’s basic needs.

“Some of them have even returned to school and are supporting their education with income earned from their businesses.

The RRR project also came with other benefits like 30 schools being constructed or rehabilitated and provided with furniture and sex-segregated WASH facilities.

“Fifty-eight temporary learning spaces were constructed or rehabilitated, and 28 vocational centres were established across 6 LGAs. The interventions supported over 300,000 children and youths (52% females). Among them are 20,104 (53% girls) out-of-school children who now access informal learning classes and 16,630 children (52% girls) who transitioned into the formal education system; and over 29,000 youths (55% females) who gained employable skills through vocational training.

“Additionally, 750 members of School-based Management Committees (44% females) have improved school management skills; 1,630 teachers and Community Volunteer Teachers (49% females) strengthened skills on various themes such as psycho-social support, gender-sensitive pedagogy and effective classroom management.

Why This Achievements Are Important

The Unicef officials said the protracted Boko Haram conflict has left the education sector in northeast Nigeria as one of the worst hits.

Among many other interventions led by UNICEF, the European Union Support to Response, Recovery and Resilience project in Borno State led to a partnership with the State Government to provide an integrated education response that generated demand for inclusive, and equitable quality education from communities and strengthened the capacity of education personnel to gather and analyze school data for better educational planning and empowered school managers and community leaders as active participants in the education response.

The Humanitarian Times will be publishing a more detailed analysis on the EduTrac too in a subsequent edition.

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