By Suleiman Adamu, Sokoto
No fewer than 100 Tsangaya schools teachers (Mallams) in Sokoto state receive a 4- day training on safeguarding children and alternative care for almajiri.
The participants ( Mallams) were drawn from across 8 local governments of the state for the training.
The initiative by the Sokoto state Arabic and Islamic Education Commission is supported by the United Nations Childrens’ Fund ( UNICEF) and funded by the Eleva Foundation of UK.
At the flag off Thursday, UNICEF Sokoto Office Child Protection Officer, Mr Williams Nwaokorie who spoke on ” Understanding Child Protection and The Ideal Almajiri Education, pointed out that children were the primary beneficiaries of their works and initiatives, thus, line implementing partners should not allow harm against them.
According to Nwaokorie, the essence was to create a window for the participants to responsively support the endorsement and adoption of alternative care minimum standards for almajiri out of family care while disclosing that a monitoring framework to fast track the initiative to ensure compliance with alternative care will be developed to sustain the drive.
Speaking, the Secretary, Arabic and Islamic Commission, Dr Umar Altine Dandin Mahe noted that the drive was not alien pointing out that it was the admonishment of the religion.
” It is not a new thing because the religion admonishes doing so” , Dandin Mahe stressed.
According to him , Children in both Islamiyya and Almajiri Schools system must imbibe the culture of neatness, must be comfortable and given care to be appealing to others.
While noting the positive initiative, the Commission’s Secretary commended UNICEF for it’s genuine sense of interventions with commitment to children welfare worldwide irrespective of race , religion and Nation.
He admonished the clerics to be very attentive to all segments of the training by also participating actively and interact as much as possible to enable better understanding.
Accordingly, Dandin Mahe called for a law to prescribe an acceptable age which parents can take their wards to other places for Islamic Education.
In his goodwill message , Mallams Lawal Maidoki, the state Chairman ,Zakkat and Endowment Commission stressed the urgent need to objectively study with care the issue and proliferation of Almajiri.
Represented by Mallam Jabbi Ibrahim Ilela Dabore , Director of Endowment Services of the Commission , the Chairman emphasised the need for people to differentiate between children floating the streets and Almajiri pointing factors as insecurity, climate change and numerous other socio-economic challenges that have rendered many families homeless as such would be forced to roam the streets for alms to survive and will be mistaken for Almajiri.
A UNICEF resource person , Professor Umar Alkali who in his presentation dwelled on ”Safeguarding from the Lenses of Islamic Law” and The Ideal Almajiri Education and Child Safeguarding” drew the attention to recognise and admit global realities in dealing with children under their care.
Explaining further ,Alkali identified the 3ps : as prevention , provision and participation as as core ingredients driving UNICEF’s objective on child Safeguarding” drew the attention to recognise and admit global realities in dealing with children under their care.
Explaining further ,Alkali identified the 3ps : as prevention , provision and participation as as core ingredients driving UNICEF’s objective on child safeguarding policy which he implored Islamic teachers to imbibe.
The University of Maiduguri Professor of Islamic Law also warned that God will ask parents over their responsibilities to their wards stressing that Islam bestowed rights on children as His creation which Alkali said include that of life, education , dignity, health and lineage among others.
He re-emphasised that a child could be attending schools both western and Islamic from their parents homes even before attainment of the said years just as the participants( Mallams) agreed that 10 years should be the ideal age for the child.
He further identified 3Ps prevention, provision and participation as core components and drivers of UNICEF’s objective on child safeguarding policy, as he called on Islamic teachers to imbibe.