US varsity gets USAID 2.05m grants to empower deaf Nigerian children

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a three-year $2.05 million grant to Washington, DC-based Gallaudet University to support initiatives to advance education, employment, and life opportunities toward the empowerment of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind children and youth in Nigeria.

In collaboration with its partners, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and Wesley University, Ondo, Gallaudet will manage the implementation of the Strengthening Education Systems and Local Capacity of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nigerians (Deaf-E3) activity.

Capacity building: Discovering Deaf Worlds, a U.S-based international deaf advocacy organisation, and NNAD will conduct an initial needs assessment and stakeholder survey to identify NNAD’s organisational capacity priorities and design training modules to enhance the advocacy, leadership, and organisational capacities of NNAD and its stakeholders.

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Training educational professionals on multimodal/multilingual pedagogical approaches to education. This research-based activity will identify best practices and identify effective training methodologies and assessments, with the goal of producing a pedagogically deaf-centric, barrier-free, and multimodal/multilingual educational programming for deaf children.

The activity will produce two manuals on multimodal/multilingual approaches that can be used by educational professionals nationwide.

Promoting best practices related to general and educational interpreting within a Nigerian context. A working group of deaf leaders and Nigerian Sign Language (NSL) interpreters will create and disseminate guidelines to effective communication by enabling deaf consumers and NSL interpreters to work more collaboratively.

Collaborating with USAID and its partners to increase capacity to engage with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind stakeholders nationwide.

This activity was inspired by Dr Isaac O. Agboola, a beloved Gallaudet alumnus, faculty member, and dean who passed away in 2017. Dr Agboola had a long-held dream of self-determination for the Nigerian deaf community.

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“Dr Agboola wanted to bring Gallaudet home to Nigeria, and Deaf-E3 fulfills that wish,” said Dr Khadijat K. Rashid, Gallaudet’s Interim Dean of the Faculty.

“Gallaudet has welcomed students from Nigeria for many years, and in fact, there are more Gallaudet alumni from Nigeria than from any other country outside the U.S. and Canada. We look forward to building on these relationships, and to collaborating with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind leaders and community members in Nigeria to foster awareness, advocacy, education, and employment.”

Chidi Olujie, president of the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, said, “I extend my great appreciation to everyone who worked on this project. We would not have come this far without our shared commitment to creating a conducive learning environment for deaf Nigerians and their families. We expect this project to have a long-term, positive impact on the Nigerian deaf community’s education, empowerment, and employment.”

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Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English.

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