Commitment to Quality Basic Education: The Oando Foundation Story

By: Chioma Okwudiafor, Program Officer, Oando Foundation
Oando Foundation’s decision to intervene in the education sector was borne out of the shocking statistics on basic education in Nigeria- 10.5 million Nigerian children out-of- school, the highest number in the world! Research has shown that the condition, location and nature of school infrastructure have a direct impact on access, enrolment, attendance and quality of education.  In addition, education remains the best means to achieving all other development goals. Spurred to action, in 2011, Oando Foundation pledged a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to transform the quality of education for about 60,000 children in 100 public primary schools in Nigeria by 2015. This commitment birthed the “Adopt-a-School Initiative”.
Adopt–A-School (AAS) is a Public-Private Partnership designed to improve the state of public schools by upgrading them to acceptable standards. AAS Program interventions employ a holistic approach and specifically engage in school infrastructure renovation, teacher training, upgrade of Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) centers, establishment of ICT/Creative centers, provision of scholarships, capacity building for School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and training for Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs). The foundation currently has 47 adopted public schools in 20 states across the country.
At Oando Foundation, partnerships and collaboration are central to effective delivery of planned programs. Government institutions are key partners including the State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission and the National Teachers Institute.  The foundation has also partnered with the US Department of State (Global Partnerships Initiative), DfID (ESSPIN), Microsoft Nigeria, Pearson, Lego, Computer Warehouse and IL Bagno.
The impact of the foundation’s intervention in just over 2 years of operation is laudable.  Achievements to date can be summed as follows:
– 47 adopted public schools in 19 states and the FCT. 28 new schools to be added in 2014
– 529 scholars on the Oando Scholarship scheme and plans to add 750 by 2014
– Renovation of 18 adopted schools
– Establishment of  a pilot ICT/Creative Centre
– Establishment of a pilot ECCD Centre
– Training for 105 SBMC members in 15 schools to ensure more effective community involvement in school governance and leadership.
– 44,467 pupils have access to improved learning environment and sanitary conditions
Education is a very important tool for economic progress and governments cannot solve the problems in the sector alone. Hence, it is imperative that corporates get involved in the social space. To companies seeking to implement projects in sub-Saharan Africa, having a clear program strategy is important. Collaboration and partnerships remain key factors to project success. In addition, dedicated staff committed to the goal, makes things a lot easier.
Oando Foundation is steadily working to build world class basic education systems that not only expand access to education but also strengthen the link between pupils, teachers and the community. Education reduces poverty, enhances job prospects, and promotes economic prosperity. Expanding opportunities for people and in particular for girls to access quality education increases their chances of leading healthier lives and participating fully in society. Every child deserves quality education and the foundation is committed to achieving this.
Photo © Oando Foundation 2014
Chioma joined Oando Foundation in 2013 and works as a Program Officer in charge of Education.