YSF Convenes Activists, Advocates Towards Almajiri Rights, Reform

Abdulazeez Etudaiye

In its efforts continuous efforts to enhance the lives of children, a non-governmental Organizations for social inclusion, Young Support Foundation (YSF) on the 25the of March held a webinar session on Almajiri Education Reform and rights.

The Webinar converged advocates, human/children rights activists and individuals towards enlightening the public on the rights of the Almajiri child, garnering ideas on how the system can be reformed and habouring an environment that integrates western education into the practice.

It was graced by notable speakers who in one voice affirmed to the necessity of such development.

The webinar which was themed “Almajiri Education Reform” turned a very enriching onewith a host of variety of Almajiri Rights Advocates, Policy Advisors and Human Rights Advocates in Nigeria. The spirit of affirmation and collaboration is reflected in the diversity of voices and perspectives that have contributed to the webinar. The enthusiasm with which the webinar has been embraced – and the number of partners who quickly committed to its principles suggest it is the right idea for the right time.

The session moderated by the Senior Program Officer of YSF, Etudaye Musa Abdulazeez was focused on areas as: The Almajiri System and Problems, Almajaranci and Islam, Reforming the Almajiri System, Almajiri and Western Education, Challenges of the Girls Student in the Almajiri System, Almajiri System and the Children’s Health, Vocational Skills for the Almajiri Child and The Role of CSOs. NGOs and the General Public in the Almajiri Education Reform.

The session was opened with an opening remark by the Global Team Lead and Executive Director of organization, Abdul ya sir Grabs who also poited out some of the major problems the Almajiri children are facing, such as harsh treatment, poor health and lack of access to better education. Further, he expressed sadness over the new phase the the aytem has taken, stating that “the present Almajiri system expose the children to slavery and are being exploited by some the instructors instead of being educated.”

According to one of the speakers, Mohammed Sabo Keana who is the Team Lead of Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, “unlike some individuals think we are calling for the termination of the system, we are only saying that the system should be reformed so that the children can enjoy their rights as children, social justice, decent shelter, living condition and adequate parents guidance and care. It should be be yo ng juat charity intention.”

Speaking from Islamic perspective, Aliyu Samba who is a Digital Media Content Creator and a passionate human rights advocate noted that, “over time, there have been negative stereotypes surrounding the system, however, Islam recognizes the rights of every child,” and for him, he strongly believes that engaging with policy makers, religious and traditional stakeholders for the reformation of the system will go a long way.

Amina Ahmad Mubarak, a Girl’s Rights Advocate who shared insights on the plights the Almajiri girls students go through. According to her, a research conducted in two Northern states shows that 30% of the Almajiri students are girls. She stated that the current system is not a favorable for those girls being that they are vulnerable to some health problems due to the less conducive environment. She further burtressed that pushing for the Child Right Act will also help in achieving this.

Also sharing insights on the isuue, Founder of Sage Literacy Initiative, Zainab Ibrahim who spoke on the Almajiri System and Western Education pointed out the importance of integrateing the system. She enumerated some factors that can hinder this achievement including: lack of proper monitoring, inadequate infrastructure and funding among others.

Other speakers were, Founder of WeCan Africa Initiative, Sadiya Murtala who stressed the importance of inculcating vocational skills into the system; Chief Executive of Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal represented by Ali Isa, Policy Ambassador at Global Affairs Council who explained the place of good policy in achieving reformation in the system; The founder of Khalifa Dan Kade Foundation, Khalifa Dan Kade who explained that three major issues important in this process are: Support programs, Awareness and Advocacy and Sheikh Sheikh who expressed that there is need for a wholistic approach to the issue.

Recommendation by the Speakers include:

– Integration the System with Western Education
– Collaboration with government at all levels, religious leaders, traditional leaders and policy makers.
– Policies Advocacy
– Inculcating a system of vocational training and and empowerment in the sytem.
– Establishment Of Endowment Centers
– Quality Education and Health Care
– Adequate monitoring and evaluation for any policy and project implementation for regarding the Almajiri reformation.
– Philanthropist Aid
– Meaningful engage and collaboration among NGOs, CSOs and others.
– Collaboration to push for the Child Protection Bill
– Seeking for Competent and Qualified Islamic Teachers

There are 8.5 Million Almajiri Children, 30% are girls, this Children faces alot of abuse and deprivation of fundamental human rights. Some believe that the system became defame and misused due to interruption of British Colonial Masters, while others blame parent with no birth control.

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