In commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Education 2023, The Sapphires Development Initiative partnered with the Ibadan Peace Club of Nigeria to carry out a community outreach project.
This project was carried out in 5 south-western states, including Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, and Ekiti; 1 northern state, Niger; and 1 eastern state, Enugu, in Nigeria. A total of 17 rural communities were reached, with over 15,000 students impacted. The community outreach project, which was aimed at stimulating mindfulness and peace-building practices in students and teachers, was led by 49 facilitators and 78 volunteers from the 24th of January, 2023, to the 27th of January, 2023.
UNESCO reported in 2022 that an estimated 244 million children aged 6 to 18 were out of school. Furthermore, given the recent global events, particularly in Afghanistan, on the educational sector, it goes without saying that more commitments and initiatives from all stakeholders in the system are required. To this end, TSDI and IBPCN facilitators and volunteers ensured that the importance of quality education was passed along in a clear and concise manner. We believe that it is time to break this cycle of educational inequity and ensure that inclusive, affordable, and quality education is achieved worldwide. We are optimistic that through education, there is a greater possibility that peace is restored, poverty is greatly reduced, and gender equality is achieved, which are major factors for sustainable development in any society.
Much more than that, another major aim of this community project was to ensure that some of the stakeholders in education (teachers and students) understood that education is a pathway to achieve peace and reduce conflict in societies. Thus, in line with this year’s IDE theme of investing in people and prioritizing education, a major activity that was carried out in these schools was engaging in mindfulness practices. The teachers and students engaged in a 5-minute mindfulness practice to show that being free of conflicts is achievable and necessary. It was also intended that these mindfulness practices be adopted in schools, especially for the young ones who would end up being future world leaders.
In the end, it was a really successful and fulfilling project. However, there are future plans for follow-up in these schools with much more interesting and engaging mindfulness practice projects during the year. Bringing about the desired change requires a continuous commitment, which TSDI is invested in.