The Chief Executive Officer, IMT Cares, Abby Asekun, says no fewer than 30,000 teachers across Nigeria have benefited from the His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II (HHMS II) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative to assist teachers.
HHMS II SDGs Challenge is an initiative of Lamido Sanusi, the Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and the 14th Emir of Kano, who is also a UN SDGs Advocate
IMT Cares, an implementing partner of HHMS II, is the not-for-profit arm of 1 million Teachers that ensures all teachers no matter their gender, geography or socio-economic status gets free access to a lifetime of continuous professional training and development.
1 million Teachers is an Ed Tech Startup that has created and is still creating a global movement in empowering teachers through professional training and development.
Asekun, who spoke as a panelist at a session on “Transforming Education through Grassroots Innovation: A Localised Teacher-Led Approach,’’ said empowering teachers in developing innovative community projects was key to transforming education.
It was reported that the session was organised on the margins of the 3-day Transforming Education Summit at the ongoing UN General Assembly in New York.
“Today, 1 million Teachers and 1MT Cares support over 30,000 teachers from across Nigeria, and 18 other African countries.
“It has to date produced 2,100 high-capacity Blackbelt teachers, who are helping to cultivate more capable teachers around the world.
“Please join us in our solution to create intrinsically motivated, empowered and highly trained teachers and support transforming the role of teachers who are the fundamental,’’ she said.
According to the United Nations, obtaining quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development.
Quoting the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, she said “Teachers are the most underrated, underpaid and underappreciated in our society… but they’re incredible molders in the lives of children they teach and mentor.”
Asekun said no truer words had been said coming from someone who happens to be a teacher himself.
“How can we help solve this global issue? We believe our organisations; 1 million Teachers and 1MT Cares have a role to play. We are community led and driven with grassroots approach to teacher training and development.
“We empower teachers by blending international digital programming with community-driven implementation.
“Our signature offering, The Black Belt Program has an online component that is self-paced to allow for the flexible needs of our participating teachers and it incorporates gamification best practices to keep participants engaged and maximize knowledge retention,’’ she said.
While it includes a digital platform, the official said it had been designed to be functional with minimal technological devices and internet access.
“Our partnership with Muhammad Sanusi II is based on his deep personal mandate for advancing the implementation of the UN SDGs through the HH MSII SDG challenge.
“He also sits as the Chair of one million Teachers.
“The Cohorts in the Challenge leverage our Black Belt Programme and produce teachers who are driven and motivated as well as providing them with the necessary skills to train and mentor new teachers (a bottoms-up approach).
“They become a catalyst for change in the communities they engage in and beyond,’’
Asekun said imagine children who had never had or seen a toy, saying this is the reality of many internally displaced children in Northeastern Nigeria who have been through extremely traumatic experiences.
“We had Habiba’s team of girls produce 109 crotched toys made for girls’ boys at the North East Children’s Trust in Maiduguri who recently just arrived from the IDP camps.
“The Trust provides learning centers with comprehensive support for the children through access to safe living spaces, quality education and good health facilities.
“In having these toys as tools available, the North East Children’s Trust can continue to nurture, renew, and empower vulnerable children and provide well-rounded psychosocial support for the children to integrate them back into school and society.,’’ she said.
Habiba Rabiu, a teacher for 10 years, with The Arty Makers Project, is among the 30,000 teachers that benefited from HHMS II initiative with project location in Abuja, Kano and Katsina.
Speaking as a panelist at the session, Rabiu said she embarked on her project because she believed in the power of education.
“We believe in the power of education, but more powerful than that is education that leads to economic empowerment, especially in a developing country like Nigeria.
“To achieve this, we train young girls to make and sell crochet fun and educative toys through they basic math and literacy skills in a very hands on way.
“This training further equip them with skills that enable them to earn an income in a society where gainful employment is very hard come by,’’ she said.
According to her, the project has been in existence four years, the project has created a network of over 2,000 young girls in a bid to combat unemployment.
“Why crochet though, you might ask, crochet being an art form has numerous benefits that accrue from it. Through this crochet we teach these young girls expression, disciplined, development of motor skills, focus and concentration.”
In making their products, she said the girls had engage in continuous and resilient and perseverance which eventually yielded perfect finished toys.
“Our project uses crochet as a medium of learning, in the same manner that a classroom teacher would use a Blackboard as a medium for delivering his lessons.
“For instance, we use unconventional method to teach basic math skills like addition, we can start with six knitting crochet, adding two in one, one in two and two in two.
“This way we get the girls to learn traditional mathematics in a more colorful and engaging manner and therefore easily achieve our end goal to holistically educate and empower them,’’ she said.