Can Education Summit Hosted by UK & Kenya Transform Millions of Lives?- Stanley Achonu, One Campaign

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NATrdCAomJE"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]now a global education summit is taking place in london today where the british prime minister boris johnson is urging world leaders to pledge billions of dollars to tackle an education crisis many children around the world particularly in developing countries are yet to return to classrooms after lockdowns forced schools to close the summit was opened by two female students from nigeria and kenya the conference is co-hosted by britain and kenya britain's foreign secretary dominic raab called for a five billion dollar fund to be set up to buy books train teachers and build classrooms the pandemic has caused the greatest disruption to education in a generation in wealthier countries with broadband and computers available some virtual learning has continued but for many rural students in many parts of africa including nigeria school closures have been far more harmful especially for girls who are less likely to ever return to the classroom even before the pandemic more than 130 million girls around the world were out of school if we had to do something really drastic to make sure that we improved girls education maybe we all end up today with a strong commitment and also giving a quarter that we expect every country to try to achieve by the time we meet maybe next year or the next two years because at this point i think we have the statistics of girls at school in all our countries let's say for instance that by the time we meet next year after all the talking we have one or two years to work more with our communities talk more to parents change mindsets and see what we get in terms of school and registration for girls after this meeting we've done very well in terms of creating awareness about the importance of girls and women education what we need now is to change the conversation from what is versus what could be recognizing the transformative power of girls education and women's empowerment how do we close the gap between what is happening now versus what would happen how do we remove the barriers so in a sense it's not doing anything we don't know how to do all the pieces are now in place it is how we sharpen that focus by making this issue more central more linked to the outcomes we seek so if you're talking about building back better if you're talking about sustainable post-coverage recovery what is the place of women and girls in that and how are we positioning them to to to take that please that's a snippet from that education summit in london well for more on that conference and the issues it's trying to address i'm joined now in the studio by stanley achanu nigeria country director for the one campaign which is a global movement that fights extreme poverty and supports policies to improve education around the world thank you very much indeed for joining us thank you for having me how important is this summit for millions of their world's vulnerable children extremely important um as you mentioned the pandemic kept children out of school in a very large number especially here in africa or estimated 250 million children out of school a large number of those kids will not be returning to school especially vulnerable girls as as we have seen throughout the epidemic increase sexual violence against women uh throughout this period uh so we we fear that uh girls will be kicked out of school especially their most vulnerable in time in in situations like this um and the the gathering that you that is taking place in london today aims to raise five billion dollars uh to support innovation um around education and continue to improve assets especially around basic education uh the target is to ask the world countries uh to give more to support uh education uh in poorer countries but also to ask other countries to also increase um their funding to education by about 20 percent and we have seen a rash of commitments towards that uh we're keeping our fingers crossed to see what we go finally arrive at but we've seen a couple of these countries uh make fam commitments uh to achieve the good as the summit set out so it's clearly important but could it really set the agenda to transform these lives or are we looking at yet another talking shop so so the the uh we we're dealing with the global pandemic and i'm not talking about um uh covet i'm talking about access to education uh we we have a situation where uh at the age of 10 kids must transition from uh learning to uh read to reading to understand you know is an important milestone and we fear that about 1.6 billion children will miss this target if no concerted effort is made and it is extremely important that this particular summit goes beyond talking shop as you fear it is extremely important that the commitments are made are kept it shouldn't be a opportunity to gather to talk for photoshop uh to gather what leaders together for backslapping and jokes and and all of that it is extremely important that this goes beyond talking to action not just to even raise funds it's also to commit the funding and making them available when it is needed in order to get these kids uh give them life-changing opportunities because that's what basic education does to kids it gives them life-changing opportunities it sets the pace for what their future becomes so it's extremely important that they submit succeed about not just succeeding raising the fund but also making sure that we apply the funds that are raised at this summit to the intended purpose so tell us a bit about the work that the one campaign that you represent is doing in this regard because you primarily fight poverty but obviously education is a weapon with which to tackle extreme poverty and also fighting corruption is a way to ensure that the money is applied correctly yes um so the work we are doing uh two prong for our operations outside of africa we're focused on encouraging uh the wealthy countries uh to do more we're asking the uk government the u.s germany to help to raise the five billion targets uh uh in in terms of funding that goes towards uh education uh but here in africa and as you know the summit is hosted by the cayenne president uh our team here in africa we have worked very closely with the office of the uh president of kenya we have uh there has been petition that is that was signed by 80 civil society organizations which we coordinated including nine parliamentarians from around africa including celebrities like tennie nigeria steny was part of those who signed the letter asking the cayenne president to pressure his peers on the continent to commit to funding education by 20 percent at the minimum of 20 of their budgetary allocation so there's a lot of work that we're getting um as you've seen at the opening of the summit uh there are champions from one who are also education champions who are also asking world leaders to do more uh around education but why we focused on education and as you mentioned it is it is a way of lifting people out of poverty um and it's widely said that when you educate a child or educate a woman you lift an entire family are out of poverty so our target for education is strategic because it's not just a handout it's a life-changing experience and we have seen families where one child gets educated it has a ripple effect even if the immediate siblings do not get educated the next generation from that family tend to target education and it is it is a generational change and this is why we are as as part of our effort to leave people out of poverty we are seeing education as a big weapon to achieve that goal and and part of your remit as you said is to educate and lobby governments to shape policies that improve lives so does they follow up after this kind of summit depend on groups like yours to keep snapping at the heels of the policy makers to ensure that they do what they promised to do so there are you know real very few instances where a summit ends and everybody go back and continue to do the work without external pressure so it's extremely important that organizations such as us are at the forefront of reminding and hammering and knocking on doors and and axing and shaming up and commanding those who do the work so it's extremely important and this is why uh the work of civil society organizations are extremely important we're building partnerships with other organizations in this area so that this this summit does not end in london it returns back here in the capital in abuja and extend to all of the capitals across the 1060s of the federation and the same applies across africa we have extensive work around africa and we are building champions young people who this whose future depends on on the success of the outcome of this zombie so we're asking them to knock on doors to talk to senior government officials and as you know for for us we we engage talent people like tenny yj those people come out uh public pressure you know they can because your organization was started by born yeah famous uh rock musician yes and once in a while when things get to a head we fly in bono to come and knock on doors as well so uh it is it is it is one tax that we should not let our hands off and and we should not assume that because commitment was made in london and there has you know you know how this global summits work people go there make commitment just to please uh the media at that moment sorry to interrupt you i mean let's face it that we've heard it all before haven't we yeah we have we have the truth is we have and this is why it is extremely important that we just do not end at this summit it shouldn't end uh tomorrow and everybody fly out of london it is extremely important that the media organizations such as us local civil society organizations very powerful here in nigeria and across africa continue to hammer that um you have made and president buhari did put it in writing this is not uh word of mouth it is in writing but he would have been here in two years well god government is a continuum it is he did not make the promise in his personal capacity the promise in his asked the president of the country so it beholds on government both civil servants political appointees to make sure that the words that the president gave publicly on a global stage okay stay with us uh you're watching the arise interview plenty more still ahead as we continue our chat about the international education summit that's trying to tackle the global education crisis stay with us welcome back to the arize interview i'm charles and nicole another british prime minister boris johnson is urging world leaders to pledge five billion dollars to tackle a global education crisis he and a host of others are telling a summit in london that the pandemic risks creating a legacy of wasted talent covid has of course had devastating consequences for global education it's been estimated that at one point more than a billion children were out of school because of lockdown measures and in developing countries millions of children have yet to return to the classroom condemning many to more poverty correspondents say today's summit in london hosted jointly by britain and kenya is a chance for the international community to turn the tide the aim is to get 175 million children back to school hence the fight i think it would give you an idea for education is very very serious as it stands in the problem of infrastructure physically and intellectual physical is essentially give you an idea classrooms equipment textbooks intellectual the teachers and uh convincing those who are really qualified to go into teaching for profession uh teaching profession he would rather go where engineers are wanted where they will hold contracts yes rather than fight children day in and day out so i assure you that um nigerians are actually aware of the priorities of education and they are going all out to make the necessary savings and make necessary inputs to make sure that their children and their awards get the opportunity to have the best of education rousing words rising words and i i i can feel the weight that sits on all your shoulders as you think about these critical questions in times when resources are just not there the economies are not humming as they should your tax receipts are not then you have to make those really difficult choices between what and you briefly heard president buhari speaking at that summit there and with me in the studio stanley achanu nigeria country director for the one campaign a global movement that fights extreme poverty and supports policies to improve education around the world thank you very much indeed for staying with us and of course president buhari as we saw is clearly there what are the specific issues that he's addressing and you think he ought to address i mean he talked about reducing i mean increasing the education budget in nigeria by 50 percent that's positive isn't it yes um so luckily for us the president has completely committed to the uh the specific acts of the summit which is that countries commit to spend at least 20 percent of their annual budget on education the president did issue a letter which is on the summit website where he clearly stated he's targeted aim of increasing the numbers and and the numbers are clear and i i did once i saw the letter i i punched the numbers in to see what the specific figures are right uh this year alone we have uh 771 billion naira uh budgeted for education based on the initially approved trade that's just over one billion dollars just two billion dollars if i use the uh exchange rates of 379. under if i if i continue to punch the numbers by his um his uh commitment uh we should be channeling three billion dollars in 2022 budget which will be about 1.15 trillion if exchange remain the same in truth in 2023 uh in 2023 it would be 4 billion 4.5 billion dollars in 2024 it would be 6.8 billion and if you look at his letter he said by 2025 they want to double uh increase uh the size of the budget by 100 so we're looking at 13 billion dollars for education to put it in context our 2021 budget is 35 billion uh dollars so if 25 billion dollars that's five billion dollars right that's one uh 13 points um uh six trillion so you see the entire entire body okay i'm just getting that no no i'm just putting that in context right so that you understand yes the quantum of change we expect to see uh by 2025 13 billion dollars uh to education if exchange rates remain the same and if this promise is kept so this is this would be a huge job but my concern my concern is this um it is not just enough to throw money at this challenge we have seen uh what what is going on in our country in recent months um children uh in schools are now the new target for for kidnapping that has significant impact uh if parents are now scared of saying that has to be factored that has to be security security so it's not just enough to say money is not the only challenge we have money is not the only challenge we have that parents we are trying to encourage parents to send their kids to school and then they turn on tv and then see our parents who did what we asked them to do you know crying and lamented about kidnapped children so it's also a big challenge uh as he's making commitment towards uh funding education it's extremely important that we also think about security and protection for those who agreed to go to school as a way of encouraging others to show yeah well we'll have to wait and see obviously because i mean um he's he's made the pledge it's a very commendable pledge um but we'll have to see how that pledge is then translated into a practical policy but with all the work that the one campaign that you represent has done and is doing supporting international development issues including trying to provide basic education for all in very succinct terms can you tell us what you think needs to be done specifically to change the lives of these vulnerable children in marginalized communities so like is a complex challenge right it's a complex challenge but uh we need to incentivize uh kids to go to school we need because there's extreme poverty and parents will uh compare sending these kids to students taking them to farm or having them out there to hawk things on the street in other words immediate needs will always take priority of course and it is extremely important that we give these families a reason to let these kids go to school things like basic school feeding programs are extremely important and i hope that this commitment defunding would be channeled in towards encouraging and incentivizing the need for the poorest of the poor to send their kids to school as a way of lifting themselves out of poverty it's extremely important that we we are innovative in our approach to encourage is not enough to to make laws the laws are there that makes basic primary education compulsory are people obeying the laws we need to find alternative means and things like school feeding program materials for learning uh opportunities that allow the families to see the benefit of of this investment of their time because at this stage it's just basic time that they're investing into the children's education it's extremely important that we emphasize that and show examples of success when they're when we have those it's extremely important that we we keep that in mind that these families are extremely poor and we we need to take steps that's a good point and presumably the situation of these children has got a lot worse because of covet extremely extremely um as you as you mentioned uh during the opening more children were locked in at home elsewhere they did online learning uh that's that is not the case here um kids were completely left at home absolutely so they've lost time for those who were in school um for those who weren't sure why they were going to school probably this long time convinced them not to waste their time anymore because they probably have gotten engaged in uh other things that that that would be more interesting to them so so it's extremely important that especially on our continent on our continent that we take those steps provide funding improve classrooms uh provide security uh because uh it is not dangerous to to be a student in nigeria considering the ransom that appearance are being made to cover uh that's extremely important that we provide security and provide guarantee right um and then all of the jobs and all of the extras that come after education we we have to think those through mr channel i want to thank you very much indeed very interesting talking with you stanley chanu is the nigeria country director for the one 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Can Education Summit Hosted by UK &amp; Kenya Transform Millions of Lives?- Stanley Achonu, One Campaign

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