Remarks for U.S. Chargé D’Affaires David J. Young Screening of Northern Education Initiative Plus Films Mu Karanta! (Let’s Read!)

I am pleased to welcome you all to the Embassy for this special preview of several new films produced under USAID’s Northern Education Initiative Plus activity, Mu Karanta! (Let’s Read!)

We at the U.S. mission strongly believe that increasing access to education and improving reading skills for children helps build stronger, more cohesive and resilient communities and societies, and will lead Nigeria to a brighter future.

We all know the troubles plaguing the Nigerian education system are legion, from   having millions of youth who are not in school to the number of students already in school who still cannot read or write.

To address these dual issues of access and quality, through USAID, the United States has reached out to these populations in Bauchi and Sokoto states through an activity called the Northern Education Initiative Plus, which we call “The Initiative,” over the last three years.

The nontraditional approaches taken by the Initiative have provided thousands of children with a chance to pursue a viable path to quality education.  But they could never do it without the support of their respective families and communities, where parents may question whether sending their children – particularly girls – is worth the trouble.

Answering that question is at the heart of these new films, not your typical  documentaries, but mini-dramas that showcase the impact of this collaborative work in the communities we serve.

When parents and other community members see their children succeed at basic literacy and numeracy, they are more willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep them in school longer.

They see that change is possible; and that communities can take action to improve the quality of education for their children.

Short vignettes like these cannot do justice to the tremendous efforts these community groups lead to provide learning opportunities for their children, so today we also have the pleasure to present two of these students themselves, so they can show and tell you first hand the impact their schooling has had on their lives.

I hope today’s presentation inspires us all to do more, knowing our efforts towards better education in Nigeria can truly make a difference.

Thank you and do enjoy the films.