Highlights & Achievements
Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN) is the only international charity agency working in the volatile Niger Delta region to defend and uphold the rights of vulnerable children.
SSN has recorded some remarkable successes since being established in 2005. Some of these include:
- Building and resourcing an outstanding school for orphans and disadvantaged children – the Stepping Stones Model School.
- Successfully lobbying the Akwa Ibom State Government to enact the Child Rights Act.
- Producing the multi-award winning documentaries ‘Saving Africa’s Witch Children’ and ‘Return to Africa’s Witch Children’.
- Reporting the activities of child traffickers in the region to relevant authorities.
- Submitting a Shadow report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, leading them to recognise witchcraft accusations as a child rights challenge in Nigeria for the first time.
- Establishing the PACT Coalition of Niger Delta child rights NGOs, which now has just over 40 members.
- Training 34 local child rights NGO workers on child protection, child rights law, monitoring and evaluations and fundraising.
- Supporting local partners to document over 195 cases of child rights abuse.
- Achieving the establishment of family courts in Calabar and the first successful prosection in these courts for child rights abuse.
- Having questions asked in the UK Houses of Parliament and Lords on the issue of witchcraft accusations against children in Nigeria.
- Conducting advocacy activities on child rights abuses reaching over 200,000 people in the last year with a child rights message.
- Reaching over 700 children directly with information about their rights.
- Supporting the street children march for their rights in Calabar on the International Day for Street Children in 2011 and 2012.
- Organising a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Street Children in July 2012 on the issues of witchcraft accusations, street children and trafficking.
- Achieving increased enrolment at Stepping Stones Model School and Bebor International Model School by supporting 180 children each year who were previously unable to attend school, including tuition fees, uniforms, books and materials.
- Achieving very low drop-out rates at Stepping Stones Model School of 1%, compared with the local rate of 80.7% in Akwa Ibom, and Bebor International Model School of 2%, compared with a local rate of 76.6% in Rivers State.
- Achieving excellent pass rates at both model schools, achieving 86% at Bebor International Model School and 90% at Stepping Stones Model School.
- Providing a solar-powered ICT suite at Stepping Stones Model School.
- Training and resourcing 773 government primary schools in the use of the fast track reading scheme, Jolly Phonics.
- Directly influencing changes to the draft Nigerian primary English curriculum, making synthetic phonics a new priority for Primary 1 children.
- Creating and distributing a range of culturally relevant teaching materials to over 3,000 teachers, including four story books, teachers' guides and training DVDs.
- Influencing key organisations including the United Nations and governmental agencies to place a greater emphasis on the need to protect child ‘witches’.
Such successes have been made possible due to the hard work, commitment and passion of the local partner organisations that SSN supports in the Niger Delta. Their invaluable work, which is often carried out in the most challenging situations, as well as the plights of the children that they support remain our inspiration.
As a small, grassroots charity every effort is made to keep our running costs down to a reasonable level. While visiting Nigeria, SSN staff do not stay in lavish hotels, drive 4x4 vehicles or waste funds on unnecessary expenses. Rather, we try to use local transport and live and eat with local people, thus further building our relationships with the communities in which we work.
The Stepping Stones Model School was completed in 2008 and now provides an outstanding education to over 200 children.