Nigerian women are developing their education outside the formal education system and also building their confidence levels as a result of a development programme, devised by The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), an international training company, based in the UK, specialising in addressing women’s development issues.


The Springboard development programme enables women – from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives – to identify the practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work, home and in their communities, while building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps.


For the last four years, Zibah Nwako, of Affirm Consulting, has been running the Springboard programme in ten of Nigeria’s 37 states. In all, she has run 14 programmes, reaching 137 women in all – and now has two more Springboard trainer colleagues in Nigeria.


“There are a number of issues, especially where women’s welfare in Nigeria is concerned,” said Zibah. “For one thing, 8.9m girls in Nigeria aren’t in school – but Springboard is supplying an answer to the failings of mainstream education in this country where young women are concerned.


“The lessons from this approach are: you need to develop yourself – because you can’t give to others what you don’t have,” said Zibah. “In addition, you need to start the education process early – engaging with schoolgirls rather than waiting until these people are adults.


“As Springboard trainers, we’re coaches and mentors, volunteering help and information for any woman who requests it – and there’s more benefit when we partner with others and pool resources.”


Liz Willis, Joint-CEO at SBC, said, “In the West, we mostly hear bad news about the position of women in Nigeria. The shocking abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls quite rightly grabbed the world’s attention.


“However, relentless bad news can become disempowering, so it’s wonderful to hear how one woman, Zibah Nwako, is determined to do something so positive to help women and girls in Nigeria – and is getting such great results.”


Liz Willis, of The Springboard Consultancy.