Niger: Niger Education and Community Strengthening Project
Grant Amount: $ 7,600,000
Project Dates: June 2012 – December 2016
Technical Areas Covered: Education, Literacy, Education Governance
The Niger Education and Community Strengthening (NECS) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and Millennium Challenge Corporation aims to improve learning opportunities in Niger by strengthening community involvement in education, improving the educational environment for girls and boys, and enhancing literacy instruction for students and adults. The NECS project builds on the success of the Improve the Education of Girls in Niger (IMAGINE) project, also implemented by Plan International from 2008-2010, which included the construction of girl-friendly school complexes and training of teachers and community members on the importance of girls’ education.
Through NECS, Plan is helping to improve literacy in Niger, where nearly two in three adults cannot read. Plan is working in partnership with the Nigerien Ministry of Education and Aide et Action to develop and roll out an Early Grade Reading (EGR) curriculum for the first and second grades in four Nigerien local languages. This work builds on international best practice in EGR and research supporting the positive effects of mother tongue literacy on overall learning, and Plan is working closely with the Nigerien Ministry of Education to train a cadre of experts on EGR and integrate this curriculum with the Ministry’s new bilingual education program. NECS is also providing adult literacy classes and distributing reading materials in order to promote a culture of reading in the communities as well as in schools.
Implemented in 150 communities, NECS is strengthening educational opportunities and school-community ties in 150 Nigerien communities. Plan works with existing community school management committees (French acronym CGDES) to develop and implement their own Action Plans to improve their schools and to raise awareness for, and knowledge of, the importance of girls' education. The CGDES are already implementing these action plans, which are being carried out utilizing locally-raised funds. Activities include cleaning and supplying schools, encouraging parents to send their girls to school, and constructing additional classrooms. Through the project, the CGDES are also working with Plan to rehabilitate clean water taps for school use, implement a community mentoring program, and support student governments in the NECS schools.