With more than 300,000 children killed and over one million displaced due to the 12-year conflict in north-east Nigeria, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are working together to provide community-based psychosocial services to about 5,129 conflict-affected out-of-school children in Borno State.
The EU-funded programme in Borno State is a component of a three-year €10 million European Union Support to Early Recovery and Resilience package to support children, youths, and communities in Borno State.
Also included in the package is the provision of vocational skills and non-formal education to at least 25,000 young people, the construction and rehabilitation of learning centres and the strengthening of education management information systems.
Through the EU-funded Support to Early Recovery and Resilience Project, implemented by UNICEF, conflict-affected out-of-school children in Borno state, north-east Nigeria in six local government areas are receiving services including mental health support in safe spaces to strengthen their well-being, resilience, literacy skills and self-reliance.
The project also supports vulnerable children across Borno with protection and health services, vocational and basic literacy skills, access to justice and security, under a holistic humanitarian intervention that has so far provided 15,552 out-of-school children with vocational training.
; 1,610 out-of-school children with literacy and numeracy skills and 5,194 children enrolled into integrated Qur’anic schools across focus LGAs.
According to UNICEF’s representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, the scars of conflict are real and enduring for children. “Too many children in north-east Nigeria are falling victim to a conflict they did not start. Attacks against children must stop immediately,” he added.
Hawkins said stress and violence have been linked to poor brain development, depression and poor self-esteem, and children exposed to conflict and violence are at risk of long-term mental health and psychosocial issues.