By Bukar Bolori
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commenced the distribution of radio sets to all internally displaced and other vulnerable children in Borno State.
This, according to the UN agency, would ensure that children from all backgrounds benefit from radio lessons being aired across the state to mitigate against the closure of schools over the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF, which in order to strengthen the delivery of alternative learning to disadvantaged communities in the troubled state has commenced the distribution of radio sets to the most vulnerable children, said the distribution. Is going to be in phases.
Speaking on the distribution of the radio sets on Thursday in Maiduguri, UNICEF Education Manager in Borno, Dr. Nasser Kaddoura stated that the initiative, which targets 1,500 children in the initial stage, is an effort to leave no child behind.
He said, “For conflict- affected children, the COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis within a crisis. There is already a burgeoning number of out-of-school children in the north east region. UNICEF is actively supporting radio lessons in the state, but more children need to benefit from this arrangement. With support from Education Cannot Wait, we are providing radio sets to internally displaced and other vulnerable children who cannot ordinarily afford a radio set.
“There is a high number of unaccompanied children, orphans and other minors who live in female-headed households in Borno. Radio sets are not priority for children in this category. This is what led to this initiative and more radio will be distributed in subsequent phases. Millions of children in North East Nigeria are out-of-school. This is counterproductive because education is a right of all children, no matter where they live.”
Also speaking on the distribution, the Chairman of the Borno State Universal Basic Education Board Committee on COVID-19 Education Response, (SUBEB) Ali Bukar-Dogo, commended UNICEF for the initiative. He added that SUBEB is monitoring the distribution and radio lessons and sensitizing communities on the purpose of the radio sets.
He said, “SUBEB is determined to see that distribution to the most vulnerable in the community as per target is achieved. We have engaged the School-based Management Committees in the state to select the most vulnerable households or communities. The radios will support the most vulnerable children and communities to catch up with learning programme even within the COVID-19 pandemic.’’