• Gretchen Rinnert

Back from Nigeria

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

In November 2019, a team from Kent State visited Nigeria for the third time to collaborate with our colleagues at American University of Nigeria (AUN) on USAID grant-related work. Prior to the trip, we had spent the last few months working almost around the clock on the first drafts of our literacy and math materials for Primary Two (second grade) and Primary Four (fourth grade). One of the highlights of the trip was seeing these first copies coming off the press at AUN’s printer.

SENSE Pupil books being assembled
SENSE Pupil books being assembled

By Fall 2019, approximately 50,000 students and their teachers received draft pupil books and teacher guides as part of this pilot project. Content for the books has been co-developed by scholars at AUN, Kent State, and Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development. The Columbia team has infused the material with social emotional learning (SEL) and psychosocial support (PSS). We hope that these books will help to boost literacy and math skills among students in Northeast Nigeria, where literacy rates are among the lowest in the country--and in the world.

Pupil books being assembled.
Worker at AUN assembling pupil books.

As an added boost, the printing is contributing to the local economy. AUN has its own printing press, and they’ve hired double the typical number of employees to help with the printing. The extra paper from printing errors and trimming books will be recycled into stools at AUN’s Sustainability Center.

Extra Paper from the Printing Press
Extra paper from the printing press

The photo below is of KSU and AUN team members, along with staff members from the printing press.

We were also very happy to meet with Dr. Dawn Dekle, President of American University of Nigeria. We are very grateful for all of the support she has given the project so far.

Otherwise in Nigeria, the Kent team continued our co-design work with students, teachers, and school-based management committee members (SBMC), and learned more about the challenges facing Nigerian teachers and learners. We also had the opportunity to visit two different Nigerian classrooms—one in a private school, and one in a government school. The team has become very fond of Nigerian food. The hotel serves “indomie” noodles for breakfast, and we were able to buy some at Yola’s market to bring home. 

We also love the “Keke Napeps,” the local common mode of transportation, and would love to bring one back to campus! 

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