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The North-Eastern region has witnessed an unprecedented level of insurgency from 2009 till date, leading to a declaration of a “State of Emergency” in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe State in 2013. In order to rebuild, rehabilitate and restore normalcy in the priority sectors of the affected states His Excellency, the President, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Johnathan GCFR in collaboration with the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown and a coalition of Nigerian Business leaders initiated the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI) during the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) in Abuja on May 2014.
The militant group, Boko Haram, has carried out violent attacks in the northern parts of Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerians have been killed and many more have been forced to flee their homes. Schools have been the primary target of the attacks. Since 2011, Boko Haram, whose name means “Western Education is forbidden”, has expanded its attacks to the direct target of schools, resulting in the killing and abduction of hundreds of teachers and students and the destruction of school buildings and teaching materials.
The abductions of the more than 200 girls from Chibok have touched a nerve, evidenced by social media initiatives like “Bring Back Our Girls.” The effect of such attacks has dampened participation in education. In an area where enrolment rates for girls are some of the lowest in Nigeria, families across the northeast are staying away from schools. As a response to this situation the “Safe Schools Initiative” was launched by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, alongside Nigerian Global Business Coalition for Education and private sector leaders at the World Economic Forum Africa.
The “Safe School Initiative” entails a combination of (1) school-based interventions; (2) community interventions to protect schools; and (3) special measures for at-risk populations. The initiative could be implemented in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, already in a declared state of emergency, and expanded to others in the north and, as a national initiative, to cover the entire country.
The Nigeria Safe Schools Intuitive Multi Donor Trust Fund (Nigeria SSI MDTF) is established under the sponsorship of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) is the Administrative Agent of the Nigeria SSI MDTF.
The Government of Nigeria launched the Safe Schools Fund as an initial response, with capitalization from the Federal Government, Private Sector, and indicative grants from the African Development Bank. This national fund is to be complemented by the establishment of the Nigeria SSI MDTF for UN support, co-financing and implementation of activities pertaining to the Initiative.
Building on the comparative advantages of the specialized UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and to complement efforts from the national Safe School Fund implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Nigeria SSI MDTF will channel donor contributions from traditional donors as well as emerging partners for UN implementation of complementary activities supporting the government’s SSI agenda.
In close coordination and complementarity with the national Fund, the Nigeria SSI MDTF will be a rapid and flexible financial mechanism to disburse co-financing to the participating UN Organizations and their implementing partners, be it national or international NGOs, private sector partners and community-based organizations (CBOs) in the Northeast of Nigeria.
To operationalize the Nigeria SSI MDTF, a set of guidelines and terms for community and organization access to the Safe Schools Initiative funding will be set up, requiring that schools demonstrate they are able to provide the minimum conditions to promote learning, inclusion, stimulation and a friendly environment to sustain children students, teachers, school personnel, etc. Projects funded by the Nigeria Safe Schools Initiative MDTF will aim to build resilience and promote vigilance and awareness of threats.
Notably, the Fund will enable the rapid disbursement and implementation of activities in the areas which are of most difficult access in the Northeast. In order to encourage the complementarity between the national Fund and the Nigeria Safe Schools Initiative MDTF, the latter could include as a guiding principle for project and funding approval, that the proposed project is receiving or will receive co-financing from the national Fund.
To achieve optimal progress and ensure maximum flexibility and adaptation to emerging and changing national priorities, a guiding principle for resource mobilization would be that contributing partners are encouraged to contribute with multi-year un-earmarked resources. However, if this is not possible, earmarking at the level of the following sectors (in accordance with the Agreement):
- Effective Governance
- Increased Access
- Improved Quality
To avoid duplication and enhance synergies between the national Fund and the Nigeria SSI MDTF, the already established Steering Committee (SC) of the national Fund will also serve as SC of the Nigeria SSI MDTF. The SC responsibilities will be to oversee the allocation of mobilized funds, discuss the Fund requirements and priorities and to provide oversight and overall guidance on the Fund’s impact and achievement of results, as detailed below.
The Steering Committee is co-chaired by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy the Honourable Minister of Finance and the UN Special Envoy for Education Mr. Gordon Brown. The composition of the Steering Committee is:
The Technical Committee
At the inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee a Technical Committee was set up, after debated discussion on the 17th July, 2014 initiative, to develop a framework for the speedy actualization of the initiative. The Technical Committee set up to develop the outline for the quick attainment of the SSI with due consultation and participation of all major players and states under emergency rule.
The Technical Committee is hosted by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The members are NEMA, Min of Education, Min of Finance, the 3 Commissioners for the 3 affected states in the North, a donor (DFID) and a UN agency (UNICEF). The Technical Committee is a working level/technical structure. The tasks of the Technical Committee are:
a. Coordinates with the Participating UN Organizations on the development of projects and/or Joint Programmes to be submitted for Steering Committee approval and Nigeria SSI MDTF funding;
b.Based on technical assessment of proposals, recommends the Steering Committee the a set of projects to be funded;
c. Ensure that projects and Joint Programmes funded by the Nigeria SSI MDTF complements and does not overlap or duplicate activities funded by the Government’s Safe School Fund;
d.Logistical arrangements required to facilitate the Steering Committee meetings;
e.Documenting, communicating and ensuring follow-up of the Steering Committee decisions;
f. Assisting the Steering Committee Co-chairs in following up and oversight actions and decisions, and in communicating important milestones to donors and other stakeholders; and
g. Periodically reviewing the TOR and recommending changes or revisions;
h.Tracking the Steering Committee decisions, approvals, allocations, implementation progress, closure of projects and identifying challenges to be reported to the Steering Committee on quarterly basis;
j. Based on the projects annual narrative reports, prepare a consolidated annual progress report on the activities of the Nigeria SSI MDTF by 30 April of the following year. Upon receipt of the financial consolidated report by the AA/ MPTF Office, and in consultation with the latter, the Technical Committee in coordination with the MPTF Office will consolidate the annual narrative and financial progress report to be issued no later than 31 May following the reporting year;
k. Ensure systematic progress and results monitoring, as well as monitoring of operational performance against the Fund level Results and Risk Framework.
The Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), as Administrative Agent, shall be responsible for concluding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with Participating UN Organizations and Standard Administrative Arrangements (SAAs) with donors. It shall receive, administer and transfer funds to Participating UN Organizations upon instructions from the Steering Committee and submit yearly consolidated narrative and financial reports to the Steering Committee for onward submission to all donors that have provided financial contributions to the Nigeria SSI MDTF. The Administrative Agent will liaise with the Nigeria SSI MDTF Technical Committee on all actions related to the signature of MOUs and SAAs, and copies of such agreements would be posted on the website of the UN in Nigeria, as well as in the Administrative Agent website, the MPTF Office GATEWAY.
The Fund can be accessed by the relevant UN Agencies and Programmes, namely the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and other UN Agencies and Programmes as deemed relevant by the Steering Committee. These Participating UN Organizations (PUNOs) may be eligible for funding by concluding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MPTF Office as Administrative Agent of the Fund.
Through the PUNOs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and national institutions may receive funds from the Nigeria SSI MDTF based on a project agreement concluded with such entities as implementing partners of the concerned PUNO in accordance with its regulations, rules and procedures. Use of funds, reporting obligations, liability, audit and other matters relating to the management of the funds provided and the activities shall be addressed in such project agreements in the manner that is customary for the concerned PUNO.
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
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