Thursday, 3 September 2015

'Almajiri', foster care done wrongly

Recently, discourse on Nigeria's 'Almajiri' phenomenon has been within my focus.

From Calabar to Birnin Kebbi, Abeokuta to Pambegua, it is part of the nation's cultural fabric that some parents entrust their wards with relations or regarded personality in the community for upbringing. The ward whilst in this tutelage scenario amongst others derive essentials for lifelong living. Several individuals through this peculiar cultural arrangement are beneficiaries of 'Almajiri foster caring'.

To achieve this, government must provide platform for identifying fit-for-purpose fosterers who would be responsible for adopting children, numbers of which must be limited. Where needed, the government should provide financial support to the fosterers to complement their efforts. Fosterers must as well commit to enrolling the children in education that would transform their lives. I believe this is the wish of majority of the parents of children in 'Almajiri' configuration.
However, while some communities are good at pulling this off others are not so successful and should therefore be assisted to bring to fruition desires of stakeholders. The Almajiri children, to me, are unfortunately caught-up in fostering done wrongly.

To therefore reverse the negatives of their circumstances, I opine that a formal education - be it religious or non-religious, in an approved educational environment becomes the key element of a new paradigm.

Constant review,monitoring,control and supervision of this 'system' must then be undertaken continuously to identify opportunity for improvement and alignment to reality on ground.

I do hope the foregoing may act as a framework of approach to kick-starting the process of resolving the seemingly insurmountable problem of this group of currently disadvantaged children. No one should be in doubt that implications of not attending to their situation is too gross for national development, Nigeria cannot afford it!

'Almajiri model' can be a model of foster caring if done rightly.

My take.

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