Families in the predominantly poor and Muslim northeast undertake huge risks and sacrifices to educate girls. Because the security services there have been unable to protect the schools in the region, thousands of children are being kept out of school – denied an education in a region of the country where the adult literacy rate is an abysmal 27 percent.
If existing public schools in nearby states could temporarily absorb some students, these schools and communities would be making a statement of national solidarity while also building trust across regional and ethnic lines. Kano State, for example, is well suited to do this, since its curriculum already accommodates Islam.
Private organizations such as the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria or Women Environmental Programme could lead the effort to defray costs, manage logistics, and buffer against politicization.
A. Carl LeVan is a professor at American University and the author of the forthcoming “Dictators, Democracy and Development in Africa: the Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria.” Priscilla Achakpa is executive director of Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and helped organize the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Nigeria.