In 2012, Stepping Stones Nigeria will continue to work with our local partners and provide them with the skills and support to help meet the basic needs of disadvantaged children in the Niger Delta. This is includes supporting staff wages, food and transport costs, school scholarships and health care.
We will also be undertaking some new and innovative programmes that will enable us to bring lasting hope and create long term change in the belief in child witchcraft. These exciting projects include:
The Read and Write Now Initiative
Literacy is a basic human right, but despite this millions of children in Africa are unable to read and write. This innovative two year project aims to dramatically improve literacy rates amongst the most needy and disadvantaged children in the Niger Delta, a region of Nigeria that suffers from severe social and environmental instability. Working with the University of Uyo’s Institute of Education, the lead training provider for education in Akwa Ibom State, we will train, resource and inspire 3400 teachers from 1146 schools in year one to teach reading and writing to 85,900 children using the fun and successful method of synthetic phonics. This will bring lasting hope to the lives of thousands of children by improving life chances for employment, income, health status and housing.
The Fake Prophet
In 2011 SSN released it's first ever Nollywood film - 'The Fake Prophet'. The film challenges and denounces child witchcraft accusations, child trafficking and fraudulent Pastors operating within the church community. The film is currently being distributed throughout Nigeria, and we plan to also distribute it in other African countries and the UK. We are so excited by this project and are convinced that it will generate discussion, raise awareness and most importantly, help to protect and transform the lives of thousands of vulnerable children.
Niger Delta Child Rights Watch Project
Across the Niger Delta, many children suffer abuses of their rights, yet few who abuse children ever face justice. This project documents, investigates and monitors cases of child rights abuse in four Niger Delta states, provides emergency support to children, including free legal support, and conducts wide-ranging advocacy activities to promote the legal protection of child rights. The project aims to improve the level of successful prosecutions through raising the capacity of three of our Nigerian partners to effectively manage and litigate cases of child rights abuse. Specific support is provided by a legal intern from the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.
Facilitating Participatory Approaches with Children in the Niger Delta
Despite the increase in participatory initiatives since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, questions remain about the effectiveness of participatory approaches undertaken with children in societies around the world. In order to help to address this, we are working with the University of Sheffield on a research project which will explore how child rights NGOs in the Niger Delta understand child participation and use it in their work, highlight the value children’s participation can bring to communities and NGOs by eliciting the views of children on various aspects of their rights and welfare and develop a set of recommendations and a training manual which will be used to build the capacity of NGOs in the UK and Nigeria.
Click here for the project report.
Throughout Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, children are tortured, killed and abandoned every day due a strong belief in child witchcraft. Operation Enlightenment aims to effect long term change about the belief in child witchcraft by using radio adverts, posters, Nollywood films and music CD’s to raise awareness of child rights amongst communities and highlight the legal consequences for those individuals found guilty of labelling children as ‘witches’. It is anticipated that challenging the abuse of children as a result of this common belief will help to reduce the maltreatment, abandonment and trafficking of children in this region.
400 years since the Lancaster Witches
In 1612, ten people were hanged at Lancaster Castle after being accused of witchcraft. This project highlights that, 400 years later, people are still dying due to witchcraft accusations. Click here for more information
Oron Street Child Project
SSN is working towards establishing a new model street child project in Oron in partnership with SSNCEF. Specific emphasis will be placed on prevention, early intervention and family reunification. A drop-in shelter that can accomodate upto 60 street children will also be built and equipped. Here, children will be able to access nutritious meals, healthcare, clothing and essential toiletries. Working with local schools, opportunities for street children to access formal and non-formal education will be provided.
Computer Centre at SSMS 400
A key aim of SSN and SSMS is to equip children with the skills they will need to alleviate themselves from poverty and be reintegrated back into society. The computer centre will house ten computers complete with internet access. Users will also have access to a printer, scanner and photocopier. It will provide children with invaluable computer skills that will enable them to compete in the modern job market. It will also vastly improve the school's ability to manage its administration, as well as offer opportunities for local community members to enhance their skills and prospects.