Gallaudet University has been awarded a three-year, $2.05 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support initiatives to advance education, employment, and life opportunities toward the empowerment of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind children and youth in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
With this grant, Gallaudet University – along with its partners, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and Wesley University, Ondo – are launching the Deaf-E³ project.
This project 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. According to Dr. Khadijat K. Rashid, Interim Dean of the Faculty at Gallaudet, “Dr. Agboola wanted to bring Gallaudet home to Nigeria, and Deaf-E³ fulfills that wish.”
Deaf-E³ project activities include:
- Capacity building: NNAD and its stakeholders. Discovering Deaf Worlds, a U.S-based international deaf advocacy organization, and NNAD will conduct an initial needs assessment and stakeholder survey to identify NNAD’s organizational capacity priorities and design training modules to enhance the advocacy, leadership, and organizational capacities of NNAD and its stakeholders.
- 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 project 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.
- Collaborate with USAID and its partners to increase capacity to engage with deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind stakeholders nationwide.
Roberta J. “Bobbi” Cordano, President of Gallaudet University, said, “Gallaudet is deeply grateful to USAID for this investment in Deaf E³. This funding will have an incredible impact as Gallaudet, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), and Wesley University, Ondo collaborate on education and employment initiatives that will empower deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind people in Nigeria.”
Dr. Rashid said, “Gallaudet has welcomed students from Nigeria for many years. In fact, there are more Gallaudet alumni from Nigeria than from any other country outside the United States 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. This will positively impact the standard of living for deaf people in Nigeria for many years to come.”
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 are very grateful to USAID for finding us worthy of being beneficiaries of this grant. We expect this project to have a long-term, positive impact on the Nigerian deaf community’s education, empowerment, and employment.”
Professor Sunday Ndubueze Ukachukwu, Vice Chancellor of Wesley University, said, “Coming this far is confirmation that there is strength in unity of purpose. While congratulating all the persons, organizations, and groups who worked assiduously to bring GAIN this far, our deep appreciation goes to USAID for believing in the vision. Indeed the Gallaudet University legacy of subduing barriers, limitations, building hope and empowerment of the deaf through education, is coming to Nigeria, signalling new hope for the deaf in the country and beyond.”
This project is RFA #72062021RFA00001. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
For more information please visit Gallaudet in Africa-Nigeria and Facebook.
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. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors, master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in many fields, including education, linguistics, psychology, educational neuroscience, deaf history and culture, and Black deaf history and culture.
For more information please visit the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf and Gallaudet University