Goal 4 is all about education.
SDG 4.1 “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”.
One of the most fascinating things I learnt when visiting Nigeria was in a workshop with street children. When we asked them what was most important to them, education was their highest priority – above food, or shelter or protection. This really challenged my assumptions about children’s needs, and showed me that children recognise that access to education is essential to break cycles of poverty and violence.
We currently work with two partner schools in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States. Our Education for All project helps disadvantaged and stigmatised children, who would otherwise be denied an education, to attend school. We also support children’s access to education through our SAFEChild project, which supports former street children to attend school, and provides educational grants to help children who are living in poverty go to school. One of the problems we face is that although state primary education is in theory free, if children do not have the books, uniform and shoes required, the school can send them home. Poverty is a real barrier to children’s right to education.
Through these projects, in 2017 we are supporting nearly 100 children to go to school.
We also want to make sure our partners can continue to provide this support without relying on external funding. We are about half way through an exciting income-generation project, which will help our two partner schools to become financially sustainable. With the generous support from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, we are working with the schools to develop businesses including snail and fish farms, and a new school hall which can be rented out for events. By the end of 2019, both schools should be generating themselves all the funds they need both to support access for disadvantaged children, and upgrade and extend their facilities.