It has been 500 days since 276 young girls were abducted in Chibok Nigeria from a Government Secondary School. While 57 of these girls have escaped, 219 still remain missing and have been at risk of trafficking, forced marriage and other forms of exploitation. These were some of Nigeria’s most courageous young women who wanted nothing more than an education to build a better future for themselves and their families and make their community and country stronger.
Through prayer services, candlelight vigils, marches and even a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, this Week of Action culminating on Day 500, led by the Bring Back Our Girls movement, has shown that people from across the world will not forget the girls of Chibok.
Today I announce that the Safe Schools Initiative partnership, catalyzed by the Global Business Coalition for Education with the Nigerian government, and supported by UNICEF, UNDP and multiple donor agencies from across the world, has now supported nearly 50,000 young girls and boys, displaced by the violence of Boko Haram, receive an education. Thanks to the campaigns led by A World at School, donors have contributed resources to: distribute learning materials, including 35,000 bags, children displaced by the violence; train 683 teachers to teach the internally displaced children in double-shift schools in safer communities; transfer 2,400 of the most at-risk girls and boys to safer schools in other parts of the country; pilot new interventions for making schools safe; establish new state coordination committees to oversee Safe Schools Initiative interventions; and approve a reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok.
On this 500 Day Anniversary, I urge all donors to remember the girls of Chibok and to support the Safe Schools Initiative Multi-Donor Trust Fund so that we can work together to make it possible for more children in Nigeria to safely go to school and learn.
Photo: © Brook Ward/brook-ward.com