Boko Haram: UNICEF Moves Classrooms Into Airwaves
Our airwaves are becoming more important and priceless to those who are tuned to the right frequency.
The physical class room has shifted location as learning can now take place wherever you are.
This initiative will keep children in Nigeria’s northeast safe from Boko Haram and at the same time empower them with knowledge.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is exploring radio education to keep children displaced by the activities of Boko Haram in Lake Chad basin in a mental academic environment.
At least 1.3 million have been deprived of education in the 8 years of insurgency.
Their schools have been burnt, students abducted and consistent attacks have forced parents to keep their children at home.
The activities of the terrorists have been a setback to a region's quest to educate its people.
UNICEF has come to the rescue with its radio education initiative targeted at the Lake Chad basin.
The UN agency’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, believes it will work.
“This crisis has unique challenges, so we are developing unique solutions.
“With many hundreds of schools still closed and children exposed to numerous risks, we developed a radio education regional prototype that will keep children in a positive education routine.
“This is the first step, and the Governments have pro-actively engaged to make this available for children in this crisis,”she said.
The 144 episodes of educational programming on literacy and numeracy, life-saving and other child protection messages will be broadcast in three local languages, namely: Kanuri, Fulfulde and Hausa.
The radio education programmes offer an alternative platform for the 200,000 children in crisis affected areas who are unable to access schools in the Far North of Cameroon and in the Diffa region of Niger.
Education has been at the centre of the conflict since it began in 2009, UNICEF said.
Boko Haram has sought to put an end to Western education by targetting teachers and attacking schools.
The EU-supported Education in Emergencies initiative has equipped UNICEF to enhance a protective environment for children in schools and communities affected by the crisis.
This includes expanding education programs to areas where schools remain closed either because they have been destroyed or because of fear of further attacks, UNICEF noted.
The UN agency added that the radio programmes have the potential to reach children in areas that remain inaccessible for humanitarian assistance and other out-of-school children.
The broadcasts are supported by community outreach efforts to ensure adults allow children to listen to existing radios and facilitate guided listening.
UNICEF has called for 38.5 million dollars to meet the education needs of children in the crisis and this appeal has received 19.6 million dollars, just 50% of the amount required.