Ruth Edward is a pupil of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Uba Hong Local Government, Adamawa State. She joined the school in 2019 in hopes of earning an education so that one day she can achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.
Established in 1991, GSSS Uba has been providing quality education to students within Adamawa State, but like most schools in north-east Nigeria, it was destroyed by the decade long conflict that has impacted the region. Students have been forced out of school for months, leaving many without access to education, causing devastating impact on the Uba Hong community.
As peace has slowly started to return to the town, usual activities have begun to increase and GSSS Uba was able to open its doors to students once again. Although it was students and teachers were eager to reopen, the massive destruction from the conflict left conditions that were not conducive for a safe and supportive learning environment.
Ruth was excited to return to school to start pursuing her dream, but the conditions made it difficult for both her and GSSS Uba classmates. She reflected:
“When we returned to school, we had no choice but to continue learning under unpleasant conditions” she said. “During the rainy season we would be forced to find shelter elsewhere due to the depilated roofs, the classrooms were congested, toilets were unhealthy for use, and students fell ill all the time”.
Despite these conditions, the students and teachers did not lose hope. Mr. Yusuf Sharibu, the principal of the school, shared that despite the challenges, the GSSS Uba community remained resilient:
“The destruction of the school was a hard blow to our education system. Despite these immense challenges, we strived to continue learning and working in the destroyed infrastructure. The students and teachers were uncomfortable, but we had no choice than to continue these critical learning activities”, he said
Aligned with its goal to improve access to quality education in an environment which promotes effective learning outcomes, especially in conflict affected communities, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Government of Japan successfully completed the renovation of GSSS Uba. The renovation of GSSS Uba means more than fixing infrastructure – it means the delivery of inclusive and quality education while helping to promote sustainable learning opportunities for all.
Included in the improvement to the school was the rehabilitation of the existing classrooms, library, dormitories, administration block buildings and the provision of a new solar powered water borehole. All renovated buildings were fully furnished and provided with solar power to further enhance the capacities of both the students and teachers.
“Everyone is happy with the renovation; the performance of both the students and teachers have improved greatly” said Mr. Sharibu. “We now have so many students enrolling - about 800 students, 30 teachers and counting!”
The rehabilitation of the school has helped to improve student’s health and safety as well as allowed them more time to focus on their studies.
“My classmates and I now feel more secure when going to school. I no longer have to miss class because of regular health issues, I have more time to spend learning because the facilities work, and my classmates and I are now able to focus on our studies more because we feel safer” Ruth shared.
The government of Japan and UNDP have been partnering together to support the recovery of conflict affected communities in north-east Nigeria by restoring and providing access to quality public services such as education, health, water and sanitation to enable their transition to sustainable living and peace.
“The path to becoming a doctor will be challenging, but it seems more realistic now,” said Ruth. “I want to be an example for other girls in my community to show them that they too can succeed at anything they want”.