Nigeria has a population of 171 million people, of this number, 45% of the people are below the age of 15. The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development posit that in Nigeria, there are about 17.5m orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), 95% of whom do not receive necessary psychosocial, medical, nutritional or educational support. According to the renounced African human right activist, Late Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. With this understanding, it behooves on Fair Hope for Children Initiative to come up with programmes that would sensitize the general public on the need for quality and quantity education, more importantly for vulnerable children in our society. The following programme areas are adopted by Fair Hope to ensure that the vision of the organization is achieved.
To achieve this, Fair Hope takes into cognizance the underlying precipitating factors that are responsible for the lack of access to education by vulnerable children in the society. With this, it is important to encourage a reorientation of the society through various advocacy programmes aimed at reorienting ideologies, knowledge and practices of care givers and the general public. More so, for accurate and evidence-based development intervention, research and documentation on the realities of vulnerable children in the society is paramount. Thus, Fair Hope conducts and document study on vulnerable children in our immediate environment. This also helps to identify and enroll the most vulnerable for direct social intervention. Here, Fair Hope determines the extent and nature of the vulnerability of identified children through a standard and detailed analysis. This results in the understanding of the most relevant intervention needed which are within Fair Hope’s scope of intervention.
HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY
This is the area of the organization where the general public, caregivers and other stakeholders are enlightened on human rights and the rights of children. Also, the status quo of vulnerable children and their plights are made known to the public through this medium. Specifically, the under listed are the project activities on human rights advocacy:
- Social media advocacy: Various social media platforms are adopted to disseminate information and sensitize the public on the rights of children, the activities of Fair Hope and other related information.
- Seminar advocacy: Seminars and workshops are organized for parents and care givers through parent/teacher association (PTA) forum. Also, school administrators are enlightened on the need to cater for the educational needs of vulnerable children in their immediate environments through scholarships and free enrollment.
- School advocacy: Here, seminars are conducted for secondary school students on their rights to education and making informed choices in areas of choosing career.
- IEC: Information, education and communication (IEC) materials is another advocacy tool used to pass information on vulnerable children and the need to secure their educational development and rights. IEC materials are in form of pamphlet, divider, posters, etc.
DIRECT SOCIAL INTERVENTION
This is the programme area where direct social interventions are rendered to vulnerable children and in some cases, their parents. It is never enough to propagate and advocate for a society where the rights of vulnerable children are protected. It is of greater importance to create an avenue for personal contact with identified vulnerable children who are in dire need of practical support. These supports take place in various progammes
- Educational support: This involves identifying vulnerable children who are supported with school fees and other educational materials which are sourced from funders and partners. These vulnerable children undergo some assessment to determine their level of vulnerability. Thereafter, interventions are rendered in line with the organization’s scope of operations. Interventions include paying school fees, providing educational materials, enrolling children in after-school lessons in their locality and also nutritional support for the family. Under educational support, it is also the objective of Fair Hope to provided school building to communities that lacks such structure communities without a school structure are provided school building.
- Home visits: At Fair Hope, we do not support the separation of vulnerable children from their family because of the founding belief that the psychosocial support gotten from the home front is important. However, we are also aware that certain home practices inhibit the development of children. To solve this dilemma, home visits are conducted periodically to ascertain the welfare of the child and threats to the development of the child. As much as depend on available fund, the family and care givers are supported based on the most important threat to the child. Where applicable, referrals are used to remove children facing extreme threat at home.
- School visits: The educational progress of children under Fair Hope service is monitored through school records, engagement with class teachers and school administrator. Also, the mental and emotional wellbeing of the child are also monitored.
RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION
It is salient to document each child’s profile under Fair Hope service for progress report. Also, this programme area is saddled with the responsibility of scouting vulnerable children and documenting each child’s peculiarity.
- Child’s profile: Each child’s profile is documented for progress assessment, monitoring and evaluation. Every social service rendered is also documented per time.
- Child Scouting: This programme is designed to scout remote communities, schools and streets for vulnerable children. Their information is thereafter documented for further analysis.