What is ARC-P?
The At Risk Children Program(ARC-P) is an initiative of the Buhari led administration aimed at taming the spiraling numbers of out-of-school children, addressing concerns of the girl-child and protecting vulnerable youths in Nigeria. The program was designed to nurture, reform and empower challenged young individuals in the country with the aim of giving them a hope for a better future.
Launched in 2021, it is one of the several components of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS); an intervention program domiciled in the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment (OSAP-SI), under the direct oversight of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Pillars of the program
The ARC-P is anchored on 7 strategic pillars which will form the basis for which the intended intervention for the youths is meant to be achieved.
Agriculture and Climate Change
Sports and Life Skills
Health and Nutrition
Basic Numeracy and Literacy
Incentivisation and Intervention
Entrepreneurial, financial literacy and vocational skills
What has been done so far?
Since its official launch, ARC-P has been up and doing with several activities being implemented by selected partners which includes sponsorship and endorsements from UNDP and UNICEF.
By design, ARC-P was framed to be managed by state governors while the Federal Government see to the coordination and mobilization of support and partnership.
Many states have therefore keyed into the program with Gombe assuming the pioneer role in June, 2021. The successful inauguration of the program has since led to an expansion in Sokoto, Ondo, Borno, Ekiti, Nasarawa and Niger states. Anambra state is the latest to key in this economic resourceful programme.
Such strategic expansion became necessary as a result of the need to identify the target-citizens from the North where we have the most population of out-of-school children to the South amidst an urgent need to tame the growing number of vulnerable children in the country.
Several trainings have been done for selected youth partners and facilitators who have gone ahead to pass the knowledge and skills to the targeted age groups in the area of sports, agriculture, digital knowledge etc.
More states are expected to be onboarded as soon as possible with President Muhammadu Buhari’s target of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 remaining sacrosanct.
About 7000 educated but unemployed youths, between the ages of 22-40, were engaged by ARC-P to be trained on the 7 pillars of the program and other soft skills required to engage the targeted age group. Suchs skills include paralegal services, child pedagogy, psychological support, monitoring and evaluation, vision screening, safeguarding and mental health.
The selected youths were to go back to their communities to seek permission from parents of a minimum of 50 vulnerable children assigned to them from where they shall be monitored and mentored in interim community hubs for the transfer of the skills and knowledge they acquired.
The end goal is to provide an enabling environment for these vulnerable children to acquire foundational literacy, numeracy, as well as vocational and life skills that would facilitate their ability to compete favorably with their more advantaged counterparts.
The ARC-P program is guided by the following principles
A wholesome impact of the lives of beneficiaries provided by the State, ensuring shared minimum standards, without sacrificing quality. Build capacity in the State through youth facilitators to be deployed to the various interim community hubs as Trainers, Mentors and Monitors.
Engage with religious, community and traditional leaders as key Implementation & monitoring partners, within the faith-based and cultural realities of the communities.
Advocacy as a key component. Working continuously to assure parents of the practical value of the programme, thereby addressing vulnerabilities as the programme unfolds.
Maintain a transparent, verifiable, independent and sustainable funding model, financial visibility as well as a revolving found/resources for the program.
Create and maintain a harmonized database and management information system for continuous monitoring evaluation, improvement & research.
Build child alliances and agents within the communities, to assure of sustainable welfare and wellbeing through active community involvement
Almost 10 states have keyed into the program with expansion into the South-east and South South the next target as at the time of writing this article.
More than 6000 trainers, previously unemployed have been engaged, trained and deployed with more volunteers expected to be onboarded with time.
Development of an ARC-P MIS app to ensure collection, harmonization and verification of beneficiary data.
Office of the Vice President
United Nations Development Program(UNDP)
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Federal Ministries of Education; Finance, Budget and National Planning; Women Affairs; Health; Industry, Trade and Investment; Labour & Productivity; Water Resources; Environment; Interior; Youth and Sports Communications & Digital Economy; Information; Culture; Agriculture & Rural Development;
UBEC, OSDG, NIRSAL, NPHCDA, NCNE, States, NBS, NYSC, LACON, NDLEA, NOA, NBTE, Bol, ITF, NITDA, National Eye Centre
Exclusive updates of the program can be monitored via social media
The Nigeria’s out-of-school children statistics has become a nightmare that needed to be tamed if the country is to achieve her potentials as the giant of Africa. By doing numbers that makes us the highest victim of this menace in the world, we have to design quickly, a template that will be consistently implemented to rid us of the dangers posed by abandoned children in a short period of time. ARC-P was specifically designed to defeat this phenomenon by following a strategic transformative model expected to yield the desired result in few years.
Beneficiaries of the ARC-P program; the millions of out-of-school children, the millions of vulnerable girl-children and other vulnerable youths out there will, by the end of full implementation, have their hopes renewed in a life changing intervention that will give them an equal opportunity to their mates all over the world.