EDUCATE AFRICA - STEPPING STONES NIGERIA
Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN) is a small UK-based charity with a passion for defending and upholding the rights of children in the Niger Delta. Our work with Nigerian partner organisations saves and transforms the lives of vulnerable and stigmatised children, provides outstanding levels of education and significantly raises literacy levels of less privileged children. Through advocacy and campaigning, we promote a greater understanding of child rights and aim to prevent the abuse of children today.
The Niger Delta, is an area highly known for its militant activity, corruption, pollution and high rates of inequality. Despite fuelling much of Nigeria’s growth, 43% of the Niger Delta’s population live on less than $1 a day, according to the Nigerian Federal Office of Statistics. Many of the thousands of children that SSN supports therefore come from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds. SSN is the only international organisation working to support local organisations in this region on some of the most challenging issues that children in Nigeria face today, such as lack of access to education, child trafficking, and child witchcraft accusations. In the last five years, our work, which is highly innovative and extremely inspiring has gone from strength to strength. We have an excellent track record of supporting and advocating for the rights of vulnerable children in this region, in particularly for influencing key organisations such as the United Nations to place a greater emphasis on the need to protect and rescue child witches and reunite children with their parents.
Operation Enlightenment: preventing the abuse of children today
Children accused of being ‘witches’ suffer gross human violations. Throughout the region, it is not uncommon to regularly hear stories of pastors, parents and communities bathing children in acid, forcing them to eat poison berry, starving them to death and abandoning them on the streets. On the streets, these children become vulnerable to crime and rapists, and many are also susceptible to traffickers.
To address this problem SSN is collaborating with local partners and Nigerian child rights advocates to undertake a widespread public enlightenment campaign to raise awareness of child rights amongst local communities and highlight the legal consequences of those individuals found guilty of labelling children as ‘witches’. Mainstream media tools such as films and music, will be distributed for free as they are extremely effective in reaching the heart of local communities due to their popularity throughout Nigeria.
Radio jingles, newspaper articles and TV adverts will also be used to further spread the message of the campaign. By using such a wide range of far reaching advocacy tools, the main aim of the project is to effect long term change about the belief in child witchcraft in the State. It is anticipated that by challenging the abuse of children as a result of this common belief, will help to reduce the maltreatment, abandonment and trafficking of innocent children in this region.
Special Update March 2011:
The American Fund for Charities supports Stepping Stones Nigeria. To make a donation click the button below and select 'Educational Program' under Donation Details