Education can’t wait for children in
Burkina Faso

December 28, 2022 by Educo

The security crisis in Burkina Faso, caused by an escalation in violence by armed groups, has resulted in more than a million internally displaced persons and the closure of schools. Around 60 percent of those displaced are children.

If nothing is done, many students may drop out of school permanently. Worse still, they will be exposed to labor exploitation and many other forms of violence.

Yatenga, Loroum, and Sourou are the most affected provinces, in the North and Boucle du Mouhoun regions. At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, 23,202 students in Loroum, 14,784 in Yatenga and 2,924 in Sourou were affected by the security crisis.

Some of these students have returned to school in host municipalities, such as Ouahigouya and Titao, in the North region, and Tougan, in the Boucle du Mouhoun region. Others have enrolled in Franco-Arab schools, which offer a basic level of education.

However, many of the boys and girls who have had to flee their homes due to violence remain out of school.

In response, Educo – in collaboration with the Terre des Hommes and INTERSOS, with the support of the General Directorate for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) of the European Union – launched a project aimed at boys and girls impacted by the security crisis in these regions, with the goal of continuing their ability to access education.

The project aims, firstly, to strengthen the reception capacity of the schools that have enrolled the bulk of displaced children. This includes training teachers and other education personnel so they have the skills to develop safe, protective, and inclusive learning spaces that support the resilience of children.

Strengthening the security of schools has also required training in crisis prevention and management. This training involves local stakeholders, including young people and other members of the community.

Educo is supporting schools so that they are better able to provide learning opportunities for displaced students.

Currently, Educo is working with 40 schools hosting displaced students to support them in creating and equipping temporary learning spaces to alleviate class saturation and improve their ability to receive new students. To date, the project is benefitting over 20,000 boys and girls, including more than 11,000 internally displaced students and 10,000 students from host communities.

Educo has also launched recovery programs so that students who have been out of formal education can catch up on their studies. To prevent students from dropping out of school due to financial difficulties, Educo is covering the cost of school expenses for low-income families.

To guarantee a protective environment for children, school staff have taken part in training on stress management, psychological first aid, crisis preparedness, violence prevention, and child protection. Educo is also providing medical and psychological support services, with the implementation of a range of psychosocial activities that build students’ resilience while contributing to improved social cohesion within schools.

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