Save the Children International (SCI) has raised concerns that more children from poor and marginalised homes in Nigeria risk losing out on education due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Country Director of the humanitarian organisation, Mercy Gichuchi, made this known while announcing the orgabisation’s collaboration with BIC Africa to distribute 100,000 learning items to pupils and schools in Maiduguri, Borno State, and Ogoja, Cross River State.

Save the Children Nigeria is part of the #AmendUBEAct coalition – a group of development partners, international and local organisations supporting the process to strengthen the legal framework for free, safe and quality basic education in Nigeria.

Other members of the coalition include Invictus Africa, Malala Fund, Plan International Nigeria, and YouthHubAfrica.

It is estimated that the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria is over 13 million, the highest in the world, according to a survey by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Studies have revealed that children drop out of school due to displacement, cultural norms, safety concerns, and unaffordability of scholastic materials, including pens, pencils, schoolbags.

According to Gichuchi, Covid-19 has even made it harder for children from poor homes to return to school.

‘I commend BIC, the world’s leading stationery brand, for the donation that demonstrates their commitment and support towards children rights to access safe, free and quality education in Nigeria’, Gichuchi said in a statement.

‘Due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the poorest and marginalised children are most at risk of losing out on learning and not returning to the classroom.

‘Instead, they face being forced into child marriage or child labour, and they are at increased risk of having their education and development truncated.

‘We know from the previous crisis that the longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that they will never return and that they will lose out on vital learning.

‘Therefore, Save the Children is proud to partner with BIC, and we jointly urge other conglomerates and private sector actors to channel their corporate-social responsivities towards improving the safety, quality, and access to education for every last child in Nigeria’.

The Senior Sales Manager, BIC West and Central Africa, Guillaume Groues, said BIC believes education has the power to transform the world.

‘The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the education sector globally, and more so in Nigeria’, Groues said.

‘At BIC we believe that education has the power to transform the world and as a brand we are committed to play our part in helping improve the learning conditions of 250 million children around the world’.

Source: Save the Children

Photo source: Malala Fund

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