The United States of America yesterday transferred $2 million donation to the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) of the Safe Schools Initiative, thus shooting the account to $4 million.
The Safe School Initiative (SSI) is a project aimed at meeting the education needs of internally displaced children affected by the ongoing conflict in North Eastern part of the country.
The Multi-Donor Trust Fund was set up within the UN system through Gordon Brown’s efforts.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Nations and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Abuja, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated that the SSI was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan and the UN Special Envoy on Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.
According to her, the initiative is an effort to make schools across the country a safe environment for school children to learn and for teachers to teach so that the children will never again experience the abduction of from their schools.
“Since the launch, we have built strong partnerships with governments and donor agencies, and the private sector on the SS1.
We set up a trust fund domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into which the contribution of $10 million (N1.6 billion equivalent) from the Federal Government of Nigeria was paid. We have also received donations of 2 million euros from Germany and will shortly receive a grant of $1 million from African Development Bank (ADB) into the fund.”
The Minister listed other past donors to the fund to include Norway, $1.5 million; UK, 1 million pounds in technical assistance and $10 million pledged by a coalition of Nigerian business leaders.
Also, Qatar Foundation made a contribution of $2 million into the MDTF.
“Federal Government will provide full scholarships for 2,400 students from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to enable them transfer to 43 Federal Unity Colleges across the country and continue their education. That process is now in full swing.
After receiving counseling, the first batch of about 1,007 students is now in school and others are on their way. The parents will receive a grant that will enable them visit their children in school while the pupils will also receive grants to ensure they can go home when school closes.
About 44 school children from Chibok will be among those in the second batch, which we are currently processing,” she said.
Furthermore, she said a total of 28,679 children have been enrolled in basic education through the double shift schooling system, which is operational in all three states and of these 1,692 have been enrolled into junior secondary school.
“Through UNICEF, we have also procured 35,000 school bags with learning materials and 400 school in a box to support schooling of the IDP learners. To improve security, we purchased about 400 security scanners to be installed shortly in schools in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states and in other parts of the country,” the Minister affirmed.
In a statement, United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria said that school enrolment rates in northern Nigeria are already among the lowest in the country because attacks by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, and the abduction of school children has discouraged many families across northern Nigeria from sending their children to school.
“In response to these circumstances, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, alongside the Nigeria Global Business Coalition for Education and private sector leaders at the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa, launched the Safe Schools Initiative under the leadership of Okonjo-Iweala,” the statement said.