Educate a Child is an initiative born to reaffirm the importance of reading books and effective technology use among young people aged 8-16 years old through four different programs in the Isheri-Osun district in Lagos, Nigeria. Ihonwa began this project in February of 2019 and is currently working with 3 volunteers.
Nigeria has seen rapid population growth in the last decade and the rising number of children under 15 (41% of the population) requiring basic education is taking a toll on the country’s resources.
- 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school (highest in the world)
- 20.1% is the rate of education accessibility
- 60% of those out of school are girls
- In northeast Nigeria (conflict zones), at least 496 classrooms have been destroyed and 1,392 classrooms have been damaged
In an approach to tackle ever-present literacy and education challenges, the Nigeria Vision 2020 document has outlined plans to make the curriculum in schools more relevant to the needs of the labour market with emphasis on ICT diffusion and targeted skills development. In turn, there has been a large response by the public, private, and civil sector to address the transforming educational needs of Nigerian youth such as the introduction of audio-visuals in classroom learning, digital media programmes, distribution of educational tablets to students, and training of teachers in modern literacy skills (source: Global Business Coalition for Education).
Ihonwa believes that the gap in the 21st century educational system bombards us with recurring disruption in technology and this continually affects the way we live and work. Since children are usually the first users of technology, he intends to close the gap in education through his programs to better prepare children to surmount these challenges and make the community safer, wealthier, and more diverse in terms of career choices.
The Educate a Child Initiative is introducing four new programs into the current curriculum:
- One Child One School, where students learn to make more informed career choices by going on professional excursions and become more interested in their academics;
- Techlite, where students are introduced by professionals in the field to the latest technologies impacting society and education;
- Read a Book, where students become more engaged and interested in reading by participating in monthly book reviews with diverse authors and genres;
- and the Library project, which is an initiative to build a digital library with an ambience that encourages learning complete with comfortable furniture, computers, books, a fast internet connection, a toilet, running water, and constant electricity with thorough ventilation.
The $2,000 Stardust grant will cover Ihonwa’s rent for the new space for two years. He is looking to raise more money for other important additions to the schoolroom such as materials, desks and chairs, solar panels, and air conditioning. He hopes to inspire his students to explore careers other than doctors or lawyers, and he believes the technology/IT industry could be a great fit.