Time to Act: Educating girls in Nigeria

Bring Back Our Girls
“Families who traditionally do not believe in girls going to school,” explained a Nigerian activist, “will be less likely to see any benefits in sending their girls to school because of the stigma attached to rape and sexual violence.” Photo credit: Michael Fleshman / Foreign Policy in Focus

The abduction of over 200 girls has sparked global response and attention to the largest West African country – Nigeria. Apart from the terrorist perspective to this story, one major feature is the fact that these girls were kidnapped from their citadel of education.

The power of education in a girl’s life is vital. According to Nicholas Kristof, “the greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles but girls reading books”. Educating a woman is critical tool in ending global poverty because she is armed with adequate knowledge on how “to boost her financial status, produce healthy children and continue the circle of education by educating her children”.

The article “Standing Up for Girls Education in Nigeria” reveals that the recent Boko Haram attack has created a setback for girl’s education in Northern Nigeria because “families who traditionally do not believe in girls going to school will be less likely to see any benefits in sending their girls to school because of the stigma attached to rape and sexual violence.”

Despite all the challenges facing these girls, the Nigerian women have a history of standing up for their rights through peaceful protests. Social media has also become a powerful tool in the campaign to end violence against women and girls. With the abduction of over 200 high school girls, the trending hashtag #bringbackourgirls has engendered international concern.


This post was written by Ifeoluwa Ayanwole. She recently graduated with an MA in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa and conducted her graduate research on the importance of elite bargains in Nigerian politics.


Time to Act: New blog series highlights issues of SGBV around the world



Next week’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict faces a formidable challenge – to not only inspire commitments to end sexual violence in conflict, but to elicit concrete actions to resolve this insidious and enduring issue.

As the Summit approaches, Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada members
will examine issues of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and efforts to combat it, on our blog. For the next 8 days, posts will highlight the situation in fragile, conflict-affected and post-conflict states, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Syria and Zimbabwe. We’re drawing on the expertise and interests of our members to increase awareness and discussion in advance of the Global Summit.

Once the Summit starts, we’ll turn our attention to the proceedings, then wrap-up shortly after its conclusion.

Want to contribute? Please visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed to join the conversation, and use the hashtags #TimeToAct or #CanadasCommitment.