CSOs Support Measures on Markets, Schools in Kaduna
We the undersigned civil society organizations are part of the MacArthur Foundation Universal Basic Education Cohort working to enhance transparency and accountability in basic education service delivery in Kaduna State. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of the State as they collectively mount a response to contain the spread of COVID-19, using the whole of government, and whole of society approach. For us, the lockdown of the state and the aggressive contact tracing by health officials are steps in the right direction.
This Cohort equally commends efforts to enforce measures including compulsory use of face masks, required safe physical distancing in public transportation and the emphasis on neighbourhood markets. However, the closure of regular markets, and subsequent repurposing of schools as temporary market places has raised a number of issues bordering on the safety and security of school premises in the post COVID-19 period. As a Cohort which has been tracking UBE funds across the state, we have first hand information of the fragile state of the infrastructure in many of the schools.
This Cohort is therefore very concerned that if the schools are repurposed for market without following clearly defined protocols to prevent damage of the infrastructure, the schools may become worse off than they were in the pre-COVID-19 period. Also critical for the health and well being of the pupils who would return to learn in these schools after the pandemic, is the need for clear guidelines for decontamination of the school environments after this temporary use. This Cohort is of the view that these guidelines, showing which institution is to do what at every specific timeline of the process, should be implemented in a transparent and inclusive manner with the active participation of respective school head teachers, and members of this Cohort.
Still on health and hygiene, it is trite knowledge that many of the schools in question lack WASH facilities, including running water and functional toilets. We cannot afford another epidemic precipitated by anomalies like open defecation in the premises of the school during and after the temporary use of the school spaces. This Cohort therefore calls on the government to use the opportunity provided by the COVID-19 crisis to provide WASH facilities, especially in schools that have been repurposed. This Cohort similarly calls on the government to mandate security agencies to ensure trespassers do not gain entry to vandalise and pilfer items in the schools. In the interim, we call on the Market Development Agency to provide mobile sanitary facilities for use of traders and customers when pressed.
1. Resource Centre for Human Rights&Civic Education (CHRICED)
2. Legal Awareness for Women in Nigeria (LAWN)
3. Community Life Project (CLP)
4. Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA)
5. Connected Development (CODE)
6. Pastoral Resolve (PARE)
7. Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CEDDERT)