Safe schools, safe education and the International Conference on Safe Schools 2021 in Nigeria

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, a signatory to the Safe School Declaration, on March 20th 2019 hosted the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools together with the Governments of Argentina, Norway and Spain. The Conference, which was held in Abuja, Nigeria between October 25-27, addressing a theme of Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice brought together thousands education champions from around the world in-person and virtually to discuss safe schools. Education champions represented included Nigerian civil society organizations, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the global development partners. Education CSOs participation was coordinated the Education in Emergencies Working Group Nigeria (EiEWGN), and Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) where lived experiences were presented in a CSO event. 

At the end of the International Conference, the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), a leading Nigerian non-profit, collaborated with the Nigeria Education in Emergencies Working group (EiEWGN) and UNICEF to convene a 3-day CSO Step-down Training workshop for CSOs. The workshop aimed to strengthen CSO capacity to implement recommendations of the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) which took place in Abuja, October 2021. With a grant from the Ford Foundation to the dRPC, this Step-down training was held between 6th-8th December 2021 and focused on School Safety, Security and Resilience Systems Building. At the Step-down workshop, 31 CSOs representing 21 states, government officials, community and traditional leaders were taken through 12 participatory sessions. On day-3 of the workshop, participants developed state implementation plans, 14 of which were supported by the dRPC under the Ford Foundation’s BUILD grant.  Between December 2021 and February 2022, 26 CSOs from Delta, FCT, Katsina, Adamawa, Kano, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Benue, Sokoto, Oyo, Kaduna, Lagos and Kebbi conducted safe school activities in their communities with state Ministries of Education. 

These CSOs under the dRPC safe school project called the CSOs Safe School Movement conducted the step-down activities across the six geopolitical zones with the participation of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) in Kano State and the FCT to build knowledge base of State MDAs, SBMCs, students and community leaders on recommendations from the 4th International Conference on SSD, strengthen the capacity of State MDAs and SBMCs on the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools and Safe Schools Common Approach (SSCA), increase skills of school administrators, community leaders and parents on prevention against armed attacks on schools and its impacts on girls’ education and enhance capacity of school stakeholders on school emergency preparedness and response plan (SEPRP), evacuation drills and roles of community stakeholders, such as teachers and SBMCs in child safeguarding.