Mallam Sani Shamuna (left), Hajiya Fatima Hatama Mohammed (middle) and Head Teacher Abdullahi Usman
Mallam Sani Shanuna and Hajiya Fatima Hatama Mohammed are helping to raise the voices of women in Kaduna North Local Government Education Authority. They are also helping to raise demand in the schools allocated to them. ESSPIN has introduced the Gender Champion Initiative to assist schools achieve their objectives while communities (especially women and girls) are mobilised for better participation. In the past, there was no effective dialogue between schools and communities and women were not duly involved. In order to support the schools which were assigned to Sani and Fatima, they worked together with the Head Teachers; held monthly meetings where they gathered facts on the progress and challenges of the schools and then they mobilised themselves to make efforts toward tackling those challenges. “We have a forum where we meet with mothers on a monthly basis. During these meetings, we deliberate on common problems faced by pupils (especially girls). It is then, that we tell them to ensure that their children are learning well; reading their books; going to school on time; and doing their assignments at home. We also announced that grown-up girls should go to their schools properly dressed to avoid unwarranted distraction and trouble on their way to school, or while going back home” said Hajiya Fatima. It appears more parents are becoming aware of their roles towards their children’s education, and this is complementing the efforts of the teachers in schools. Other children who stopped attending school due to poverty or other reasons, received several supports. “Few months ago, we provided ten children with uniforms in order to encourage them; while others received face-to-face visits from us. We explained to them and their parents the benefits of being in school,the way as we were taught during our training” said Mallam Sani. The Gender Champions compile reports of their activities and send them to the LGEAs and sometimes to the Basic Education Board. ESSPIN is still working with Kaduna SUBEB to strengthen collaboration between schools and communities in the state.