Niamey, Niger Republic 09 January 2020: The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), the poverty alleviation arm of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the government of the Republic of Niger and several international partners have joined forces to enroll 2.6 million Out of School children (OOSC) to school by the year 2030. This is one of the key objectives of a workshop on OOSC organized by the ISFD in Niamey, the capital of Niger from 8-9 January 2020.
A 2018 study by UNICEF estimated that 53.2 percent of the total population of children and adolescents in Niger were out of school as of 2014, and the prevalence is higher in rural areas where the figure stands at 59.7 percent compared to 20.1 percent in urban areas. The region of Diffa is the most affected with three out of four children being out of school. The biggest challenge to quality education in the Republic of Niger is lack of access, with 88.5 percent of children and adolescents aged 7-16 who have never entered school according to the study.
As the poverty alleviation arm of IsDB, ISFD is a US$10 billion fund leading the fight against poverty in the countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Since its establishment in 2005, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and IsDB have contributed US$1 billion each to the fund, while the Government of Kuwait had contributed US$300 million.
Speaking ahead of the workshop, President of IsDB, Dr. Bandar Hajjar stated: “This is our challenge, not just in the Republic of Niger. The Islamic Development Bank will deploy its moral and financial strength to work with the government of Niger and our development partners to ensure quality education for Out of School Children,” adding that “our solution to the challenge of Out of School Children includes the utilization of Science, Technology and Innovation, partnering with NGOs, academia and the private sector to ensure sustainable solution for our Member Countries.”
Dr. Waleed Alwohaib, Director General, ISFD, commented: “Quality education is the best and most important sustainable solution to poverty. ISFD interventions seek to provide permanent solutions; that is why we focus on Out of School Children in Niger and the rest of our Member Countries to ensure that no child is left behind. During the IsDB Annual Meeting in Marrakech, we signed a declaration with our development partners to return 28 million children back to school by 2030.”
The workshop on Out of School Children had the active participation of senior government officials from the Republic of Niger, and representatives of international and regional organizations like Education Can not Wait, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Zakat House, African Development Bank, World Bank, Education Above All, OIC Youth Forum, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, Spark, DFID, Global Partnership for Education, Plan Canada, Light for the World, Save the Children, EAA, IHH and Direct Aid.