1 GAME is an advocacy and campaigning organization that seeks to ensure that every Nigerian child enrolls into school, receives quality education and completes primary school, by mobilizing and raising public awareness, providing basic educational support for disadvantaged school children, and pressuring political and government leaders to support effective policies and programs that are enabling access to quality education. We see education as the most efficient tool that can be used to defeat violence, poverty and ignorance.
Founded in 2010 by Philip Obaji Jr, 1 GAME is impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, corporation or religious creed. Our efforts to ensure that 9.5 million Almajiri children in Northern Nigeria achieve basic primary education have been met with opposition and threats from Islamist militants fighting against western education in the region. But 1 GAME is fighting on.
Backed by a movement of 1 million people, 1 GAME achieves change through advocacy. We urge political and government leaders in Nigeria to make commitments to improve education standards and hold them to account for the commitments they’ve made. We raise awareness and mobilize citizens, friends and well-wishers who inspire, move from house to house and advocate to ensure that every Nigerian child particularly Almajiri children living in violence-prone North-East Nigeria have access to free and qualitative basic education as we see education as the biggest tool that can be used to defeat violence, poverty and ignorance in the region. In addition, we support children from disadvantaged homes with the basic tools they need to achieve better education. We also support accountability and transparency to ensure policies to improve education are implemented effectively.
To ensure that every Nigerian child regardless of background, culture or religion enrolls into school, receives quality education and completes primary school.
To have a country where every child stays off the streets, gains good knowledge and achieves Universal Basic Education.
Accountability – We are always willing to take responsibility for our own actions.
Results – We believe that results you can measure are the only results that matter. That means we are focused on outcomes not activities.
Integrity – We demonstrate honesty and truthfulness in everything we do.
Truth – We are always in accord with facts and reality.
Respect – We demonstrate respect in all our interactions with different stakeholders.
Our approach is:
We partner with communities, youths, adults and organizations who are working on the ground to provide access to quality education.
We work with states in Nigeria that have the most children out of school (particularly North-East states), as well as states where there are real problems that we can help solve.
We work with, and share the most recent and comprehensive data and research that is available.
The Almajiri Child
Almajiri children or Almajiris (as they are sometimes known) are usually children of school age who are sent, by their parents, to live with a local Islamic teacher who usually makes them fend for themselves by begging. It is mostly common in the northern part of Nigeria and contributes a significant figure to the official 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria. The system which started in northern Nigeria around the eleventh century AD, involves sending male children to faraway places to acquire Islamic education at tender ages of four to nine years. Its success in the past was because the host community took responsibility for the children’s welfare. Today the Almajiris are left at the mercy of their teachers or instructors who convert them into street beggars. Many of them have been recruited into insurgent groups fighting against western education in North-East Nigeria. The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) disclosed in April 2012, that there were over 9.5 million Almajiri children that are denied the right to basic primary education in the country.
We believe that the best way to achieve our objective is through the power of creative collaboration. And so, despite huge opposition to our cause from Islamist militants fighting against western education in North-East Nigeria, we have built partnerships between businesses, NGOs, governments, and inpiduals in the region to work faster, better, and leaner; to find solutions that last; and to ensure that every child is in school and learning.
What began as one man’s drive to fight violence and help children in Nigeria grew quickly into an organization committed to helping Almajiris and other vulnerable children stay out of violence and realize their full potential through education.
In recent months, 1 GAME has played an important role in encouraging Almajiris and other vulnerable children to embrace basic primary education and in persuading state and local governments in Nigeria to support effective programs and policies that are helping to put children in school.
Because of our work, nearly 100,000 more Almajiri children in North-East Nigeria, a region devastated by violence and terror, are now going to primary school; 100,000 children attending primary school in Nigeria today have access to writing materials that includes exercise books and pens; 3 public schools in Cross River State have received sporting equipments to enhance physical education for pupils; and more than 50,000 vulnerable children are now attending school in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Kano, Lagos and Rivers States.
Some of our proudest accomplishments include:
- Playing a crucial role in Borno Government’s commitment in 2013 to restructure the Almajiri system in the state – and holding their feet to the fire ever since.
- Getting Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board to initiate moves to abolish the payment of exam fees by 360,000 pupils attending public schools in Cross River State.
- Providing 100,000 free exercise books and pens for disadvantaged children attending primary school in Borno despite huge opposition from Islamist militants fighting against western education in the state.
- Providing a Book centre in Maiduguri, Borno State, where disadvantaged children can get books and pens for school at no charge.
- Initiating ‘Off The Streets’, a community project working for Almajiris in Borno State who are facing challenges of exclusion from school, ignorance, recruitment into insurgent groups, neglect and abuse through the provision of food and clothing and a mentoring program which prepares them for western education.