Adult Education Empowers Nigerian Farmers

Northern Nigeria, a savannah region in the arid Sahel zone, suffers an annual dry season of five to seven months. It is a time when more than rainfall vanishes: so does the economy of hardscrabble farmers who have only a short rainy season to raise their crops of cotton and groundnuts, millet and cowpeas, before they are left with idle hands and worried hearts.

In much of the population, something else diminishes when the dry, hot Harmattan wind from the Sahara scatters red desert dust across their fallow fields: confidence in the family’s economic security, optimism, and a sense of control over their future. Boredom niggles at the soul.

However, in villages engaging with Transformational Community Development (TCD), there is now a shining opportunity to fill those months of drought and downside with uplifting hope and learning: a TCD adult literacy school.

In Dogon Gada Village such remarkable changes are well underway. Traditional farmers there are displacing dry-season lethargy with a zealous pursuit of education.

“They are hungry for knowledge,” says Shade, a GHNI National Field Leader and TCD Trainer, who sometimes brings enthusiastic educators from Sokoto City to teach a session of Dogon Gada’s adult classes. Learning to read, write, and understand arithmetic is filling the empty-field months of traditional farmers with knowledge that can enhance their agricultural and business skills and whet their appetites for more education.   

Amazingly, adults students who were illiterate in their first language, Hausa, enjoy replying in their newly learned English, even if they’ve been addressed in Hausa!

The sweet success of Dogon Gada’s adult literacy school is heard in stories across the region and can lure a restless yet compassionate heart. In February 2015, young Jonathan, who hails from Kogi State in Nigeria’s central zone, had a happenstance meeting with Martins, a GHNI National Field Leader. He could have stayed in his home region and mined iron ore or cut marble. Instead, he went looking for a job in Abuja, Nigeria’s bustling, crowded capital. But he was tired, he said, and unfulfilled.

Martins seized the moment, describing the projects and progress and fine citizens of Dogon Gada, and urged the young man to visit there.

Jonathan did more than visit. He fell in love with the place and the people and their progress, inspired by their can-do determination and how their hope has transmogrified into a bright and better reality.

And more: Jonathan, fluent in French, is now a TCD translator for meetings and materials and instructs eager young men in the language at Dogon Gada’s adult literacy school. He is in no hurry to return to Abuja.

“Dogon Gada, its cluster villages, and the beautiful things happening there have given Jonathan’s life meaning and relevance,” says Shade.

Education opportunities in northern Nigeria are made possible by the generosity of GHNI supporters. Will you join our TCD Trainers in Nigeria as we help light the path to education for the growing numbers of eager adults and their children waiting for the opportunity?