Niamey, Republic of Niger, January 9, 2020: The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (the Fund), the entity of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) responsible for reducing poverty, the Government of the Republic of Niger and many international partners are working closely to re-enroll 2.6 million children back in school by 2030. This is one of the main objectives of the workshop focused on out-of-school children organized by the Fund in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on January 8 and 9, 2020.
A 2018 UNICEF study estimated that the percentage of out-of-school children and youth in Niger reached 53.2% in 2014, and that it is increasing in rural areas, reaching 59.7% compared to 20,1% in urban areas. Diffa district is the most affected, with three out of four children not attending school. The biggest challenge for quality education in the Republic of Niger is the lack of access to education, with the percentage of children and young people aged 7 to 16 who have not attended school, according to the study, circa 88.5%.
The Fund was created within the Islamic Development Bank Group, with a targeted initial capital of US$ 10 billion leading the fight to reduce poverty in the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Since the fund's inception in 2005, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Development Bank have each contributed US$ 1 billion, while the government of Kuwait has contributed US$ 300 million.
During the inaugural speech of the event, H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group, stated: "This is the challenge we are facing, and not only in the Republic of Niger. will use available resources to work with the Nigerien government and our development partners to ensure quality education for out-of-school children." He added: "Our solutions to overcome the problem of out-of-school children include the use of science, technology, innovation and partnerships with NGOs, academia and the private sector to ensure sustainable solutions for our member countries. "
For his part, Dr. Walid Al-Wohaib, Director General of the ISFD, said: "Quality education is the best and most sustainable solution to reduce poverty. The Fund's interventions aim to provide lasting solutions. For this reason, we are focusing on out-of-school children in Niger and the rest of the member countries to ensure that No children are left behind. At the IsDB's annual meeting held in Marrakech, we signed a declaration with our development partners to re-enroll 28 million children in school by 2030. "
Senior government officials from the Republic of Niger and representatives from international and regional organizations participated in the workshop on out-of-school children, including the “Education Cannot Wait” Fund, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, Zakat House, African Development Bank and World Bank (AfDB), Education Above All Organization, OIC Youth Forum, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF, UNESCO, Spark, The Department for International Development (DFID), Global Partnership for Education, Canada Plan, and Noor For the Good of the World, Save the Children, the Humanitarian Relief Commission, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), and Direct Aid.