Often described as the giant of Africa, Nigerians live with great cultural, ethnic and religious diversities and with enormous natural and human resources. Unfortunately, in many instances, these endowments have been sources of pain and conflict rather than springboard of development. UNICEF 2010 statistics place illiteracy level in Nigeria at 39% and the proportion of the population who fail to enroll in primary school stood at 37%. A number of Nigerians are not schooled and most lack even primary education. The unhealthy state of education in Nigeria is further compounded by the lack of necessary learning resources and personnel, resulting in a large proportion of students receiving sub-par education. Many find it very challenging passing their external examinations and become involved in violence and corruption as they do not have any other knowledge. Additionally, many Nigerian communities are plagued with issues of intolerance between members of diverse ethnic and tribal groups and religious backgrounds.
In January 2012 Communities Without Boundaries International, Inc. announces the launch of the Youth Without Boundaries program (YWB) at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria (AUST). This marked the blazing of a new trail with the goals of fostering peace and development through youth leadership and scientific and technological excellence. The program provides Africa’s next generation of engineers and scientists with opportunities to take their classroom learning to the real world, helping them to develop and implement projects in communities across Nigeria and the African continent. The Chica Peace through Education Program is the first project that the YWBs at AUST have embarked on as a group. The project aims at positively impacting the lives of AUST’s closest communal neighbor, the Chika village, through educational empowerment. The program is geared towards improving the performance of students from the Chika village in major post-secondary school examinations and providing general computer lessons. Integrated into these classes are components of social education geared to reduce or eliminate ethnic and religious prejudice and ill feeling common in Nigerian societies.
The YWBs in Nigeria have developed the Chica Peace through Education Program to combat the problems of lack of education and conflict between ethnic groups. The program’s objectives are to improve the educational, moral and practical knowledge of students and teachers in the Chika Village and promote communal and peaceful co-existence in the community. YWB provide students in the Chica Village with after school classes in computing, English, French, mathematics and science.
In March 2011 YWBs from AUST and CWBI staff visited the Chica Village, meeting with the Chief of he village and several villagers who voiced their interest in the Chica Peace through Education Program. On June 28thIkechukwe Ike from Nigeria and Nforneh Benjamen from Cameroon met with Ms. France Kaslon, the head of the primary school at the Chica Village and held the first class in computing, with over 50 students from grades four through six participating. Using their own laptops, Ikechukwu and Benjamen instructed the students on the basics of computers and how to start up a program. On the second day Benjamen and Ikechukwu were joined by Ndambmve Patrice from Cameroon who instructed the students in French.