Code of Conduct adopted for 700+ schools in Nigeria

A person hold a poster titled Federal Capital Territory Authority.

FCT UBEB adopts Mercy Corps Code of Conduct for usage in over 700 schools. As the DFID funded Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) II program phases out, it has continued to receive positive feedback and commitment to sustainability from government stakeholders. Shortly after the National Commission adopted her code of conduct for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC), the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) have also decided to officially adopt three of the program’s manuals for use across all its primary and junior secondary schools.

The manuals include the Life Skills Manual, Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection (CVAP) Manual and Code of Conduct for FCT Universal Basic Education Schools. Mrs. Tayo Erinle, Executive Director of Tabitha Cumi Foundation, Mercy Corps FCT partner noted that the CVAP and Life Skills manuals had been used to teach ENGINE girls life skills over the past six years. The manuals have benefited not just the direct participants of the program, but also other girls who engage with the programs activities, especially boys and girls who participated in gender assemblies. She appreciated UBEB for their support, adding that it is happy to leverage the agency’s structures to sustain the program values.

“It is a laudable program that will go a long way in assisting the less privileged and vulnerable girls among our students. We want this program to be extended beyond the current 14 schools where ENGINE is being implemented to all the 169 Junior Secondary Schools and 629 primary schools where UBEB has oversight in FCT,” says Alh Hussaini Bakok, UBEB Director. He also commended ENGINE for its entrepreneurial and skills development interventions for girls. He added that those were the sort of intervention parents will want all their children to benefit from.

The major aim of the ENGINE program is to ensure the lives of marginalized girls are transformed. According to ENGINE Program Manager Implementation, Abiose Haruna, this includes improving learning outcomes by ensuring teachers’ qualities are exceptional, easy transition to the next level for the girls, and retention and completion in schools. “We want to improve the numeracy and literacy for out of school girls by providing lessons within their safe spaces,” she said. ENGINE provided learning sessions in functional literacy, life skills, and business education and have supported many of these girls in re-enrolling in formal school or adult learning education. So far, over 4000 girls in the FCT have been supported.

According to Abiose, the big sustainability question for the ENGINE program was how the instructional materials used within the learning spaces get to other schools and how we ensure the people we worked with cascade the learnings to other people. The program trained many teachers across the 14 schools it implemented in the FCT, Guidance and Counsellors and other stakeholders. They are readily available to support the continuity of the interventions by leveraging existing government structures.

The CVAP manual is important to ensure children's safety in learning spaces and sets out the guidelines on how children can be protected. The Life Skills manual provides a guide for helping children make informed decisions about their lives as they move on to the next stage. This includes a financial and business education manual for some of the girls who opted to start a business instead of going to school. The program has supported them by providing them with relevant lessons to help them start their business. UBEB’s strategic role is very significant in getting the buy-in of other partners that may want to uptake such interventions.

“Education is serious business,” says Dr. Tamanuwa Safiya, UBEB Deputy Director, as she reiterates the agency’s commitment to improving the lives of marginalized girls. She noted that UBEB had led a group of stakeholders to conduct an overview of the manuals before it was finalized, adding that the resources were beneficial for ensuring that teachers and key stakeholders understand their responsibilities. “I assure that the manuals will be distributed to the last drop,” she said, mentioning that the agency has planned to distribute the manuals to its schools as soon as possible.

“There is no better time than now to adopt these manuals with the uprising in gender-based violence. These are important so girls can know their rights and stay protected from these issues,” Mrs. Tayo Erinle added, as she thanks the agency for their support and commitment to sustain the impact of the program.

About ENGINE II program

Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) II is a three and half year (April 2017 – September 2020) Adolescent Girls’ Education Programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through its Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) Fund. Mercy Corps leads the implementation of ENGINE II in Nigeria, along with Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN) in Kano, Action Health Incorporated (AHI) in Lagos, Kindling Hope Across Nations Initiative (KHAN) in Kaduna and Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF) in the Federal Capital Territory.