FCDO Education Project Gets High Marks for Safeguarding Workshops in Nigeria

April 18, 2023

Safeguarding—the measures taken to protect children and other vulnerable groups from harm, abuse, and neglect—is crucial, especially in situations where people may be more at risk due to poverty, conflict, and other factors. The DAI-led Nigeria Partnership for Learning for All (PLANE) project, funded by the U.K Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, is introducing the concept of safeguarding in education settings by vetting staff and volunteers, implementing child protection policies and procedures, providing appropriate training for staff and volunteers, and establishing reporting mechanisms for safeguarding concerns.

The PLANE team recently developed a school-based referral pathway to enable children to feel confident and safe reporting their safeguarding concerns. Group discussions with children were held to understand their needs. Feedback gathered from these discussions reinforced the importance of listening to children when planning for their welfare.

131A0090.JPGPictured from left, Hadiza Nasiru, PLANE Safeguarding advisor, Kaduna; Diana Agabi, PLANE State Team Leader, Kaduna; Nafisat Mohammed, Assistant Head Teacher at a PLANE-supported primary school in Kaduna; and Dr. Nguyan Feese, PLANE National Team Leader. Photo: FCDO PLANE.

For some children, this was the first time an adult had truly paid them any attention or showed interest in what they had to say. One deaf girl, for example, has struggled to communicate her experiences with bullying. Asked who she could talk to apart from her parents, she responded by nodding her head and gesturing to communicate, “No one.” She then signed to her interpreter: “No one understands me, so I talk with my fists,” holding up her fist as if to fight.

A seven-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome, who rarely talks, approached a PLANE staff member after the focus group. “I don’t talk because they always tell me to shut up ‘ba ka iya ba’” (you don’t know it), he said, then added, “amma na iya ABC” (but I know my alphabet) before asking, “Should I read it to you?” The team listened to him recite the alphabet and applauded him, to his evident satisfaction.

One parent shared how learning to listen to her deaf daughter almost literally saved her daughter’s life. “I put my daughter in a special school where she learned to communicate,” she said, “and I thought I had done my best.” Her daughter’s school headteacher understood sign language, and her daughter felt seen and heard whenever she was in school. “One day, my daughter almost got raped, and she came home frantic, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I had to wait two days to meet with the headteacher of her school so she could communicate with her to realize what had gone wrong. I immediately enrolled for sign language classes and have had teachers in my school also learn the basics. I am so happy about PLANE’s initiative for inclusive education.”

After participating in the safeguarding training, a Gender Officer from the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board said, “The training was very educational. We have had a peripheral introductory training to safeguarding, but nothing as in-depth as this, especially on referral pathways and mechanisms.”

In addition to the safeguarding measures, PLANE has been busy distributing learning packages (pictured below. Almost 2,000 schools, more than 5,000 teachers, and more than 350,000 learners have accessed PLANE’s learning packages for foundational skills. The team has delivered more than 700,000 packages and established 200 Community Learning Hubs across Jigawa, Kaduna, and Kano states.

Image.jpegPhoto: FCDO PLANE.



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