The Niger Education and Community Strengthening (NECS) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), 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.
- USAID and MCC
- Grant Amount
- $ 7,600,000
- Project Start Date
- June 2012
- Project End Date
- June 2016
- Technical Areas Covered
- Education, Early Grade Reading, Education Governance, and Parent Engagement
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, as well as Aide et Action and Readsters, 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. Plan works alongside existing community school management committees (French acronym CGDES) to help them develop and implement their own Action Plans to improve their schools and raise awareness for, and knowledge of, the importance of girls' education. The CGDES are already putting these action plans into practice, 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.