The Government of Norway has donated $11.5 million to improve basic education and support girls and women who have been victims of sexual violence by Boko Haram in the conflict-affected northeast Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe, according to a statement by UNICEF.
The funding is part of the Safe Schools Initiative in northern Nigeria. In 2013, Norway was a pioneer member of the Safe Schools Initiative committee established in response to Boko Haram attacks on schools in the northeast and the urgent need to provide a safe learning environment for children.
“Tackling the crisis in northeast Nigeria requires a broad coalition of support from all”, said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, “The Government of Norway was with us at the beginning of this crisis, providing support, and they are still here. This latest funding will go a long way to get thousands of children back in school and will help to reintegrate girls and women who were victims of Boko Haram back into their communities”.
“The funding will also support approximately 1,600 of the thousands of girls and women that UNICEF estimates have been raped, abducted and forcibly married as a result of the conflict,” according to the statement.
“We believe in the importance of doing what we can to break the cycle of violence in
northeast Nigeria”, said the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud. “This funding will provide more children complete basic education in a good learning environment and will provide much-needed counselling for girls who have suffered unimaginable trauma at the hands of Boko Haram”, he added.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Børge Brende also attended the signing ceremony to formalize the grant.
In addition to traditional stigma associated with sexual violence, many communities are afraid that girls and women who have been held by Boko Haram may have been indoctrinated by their captors.
Now, teachers will be trained to improve their skills so they can deliver quality teaching and improve learning results for children; school systems will be improved through training and mentoring of head-teachers on management knowledge and skills. School Based Management Committee (SBMCs) members will be trained in school planning, including disaster risk reduction to make schools a safer place for children.
Nigeria’s northeast is ravaged by Boko Haram violence, which has killed estimated 20,000 people and displaced over two million.
Norway helps female victims of Boko Haram, written by Tor Kjolberg