Kent State and Partners Receive $13.3 Million USAID Grant for Education Initiative in Nigeria

An interdisciplinary team of Kent State University faculty will participate in a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve educational outcomes for Nigerian children. The USAID grant has been awarded to American University of Nigeria with partners Kent State and Columbia University for the three-year project titled “Addressing Education in Northeast Nigeria.”

Nigerian educational statistics are among the worst in the world. Because of early marriages, the Almajiri system, poor investments in education and the low quality of teachers, a total of 10.5 million children, the majority of whom are girls, are not in school in Nigeria. Sixty percent of those children are in Northern Nigeria. 

The insurgency in Northeast Nigeria has been going on for more than a decade, affecting more than 14 million people; 1.7 million of them are currently displaced in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, with some indirect impacts on the states of Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba.

This grant seeks to build upon prior USAID work to improve educational outcomes while addressing the psychosocial well-being of children – especially girls – in Northeast Nigeria. The partners aim to:

  • Increase the capacity of education managers by 100, emphasizing female leaders.
  • Reach 200 schools.
  • Improve the teaching skills of 5,000 teachers and provide additional skills and support for female teachers.
  • Impact 200,000 students in Northeast Nigeria, Gombe and Adamawa states.

The grant, in the amount of $13,361,362, will be divided between the American University of Nigeria ($7,887,419) and its partners, Kent State ($3,940,113) and the Earth Institute’s Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University ($1,533,830). At Kent State, the interdisciplinary team working on the grant consists of faculty from the College of Communication and Information and the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

The grant team will work with local and state partners on the ground in Nigeria, from colleagues at American University of Nigeria to community and religious leaders, teachers and families. Families and schools will be connected and supported by community education workers who will be trained to help advocate for enrollment and needs of children and act as a bridge between communities and schools. 

Culturally and educationally appropriate educational materials will be provided to classrooms and schools, including materials that are gender sensitive and that provide psychosocial support for conflict-related issues. Content will be co-designed by the grant partners with an emphasis on portability and replication, using primarily locally sourced materials. Samples of such materials include:

  • Portable literacy and numeracy (PLAN) classroom-based learning labs for Nigeria.
  • PLAN school-based library labs for Nigeria.
  • Nigeria-specific educational story-based app.
  • A digital repository, accessible via cellphone. 

“This partnership will positively impact a generation of girls and women leaders in Nigeria,” said Amy Reynolds, dean of the College of Communication and Information at Kent State. “It is life changing. The learning and library labs, the storytelling app and the digital repository are powerful examples of the creative and innovative work that happens when faculty work together across disciplines. I’m excited to see the collective efforts of our colleagues come to life with this grant.”

USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. For more information about USAID, visit

For more information about Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, visit

For more information about Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, visit

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Media Contacts:
Marianne Martens,, 330-672-7138
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2019 10:03 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 07:37 AM
College of Communication and Information