Stories of change – Year 2 Impact Report
in Burkina Faso
THE NAME “BURKINA FASO” SIGNIFIES THE COMING TOGETHER OF THE COUNTRY’S TRIBES: Burkina comes from the Mossi language and Faso from Diouala. People in Burkina Faso are known as “Burkinabe” – the ‘be’ is from the Foufoulde language. Elaborate mud architecture, hypnotic ceremonial dances and jagged prehistoric peaks are just a few of Burkina Faso’s wonders. But earlier this year, the country fell under military rule following years of escalating conflict and turmoil.
Since 2016, armed extremist groups have been increasing their attacks on government buildings, schools and public spaces. In 2021, the humanitarian situation worsened as the number of killings and atrocities committed by Islamist groups, state security forces and pro-government security forces surged. The attacks brought the total number of internally displaced people to 1.8 million, an estimated 61% of whom are children. Displacement not only exposes children to violence and uproots them from all they know, but also reduces their chances of being able to go to school and have a promising future.
- In 2020, more than 857,000 children were out of school.
- The secondary school enrolment rate is only 29%.
- The literacy rate for young adults aged 15–24 is 58%.
Your support is helping to address the dire need for education for children who have experienced conflict, trauma and displacement.
Girls grow with the guidance of godmothers.
Growing up is a challenge no matter where you are in the world. But for many girls in Burkina Faso, the lack of support and guidance to cope with conflict and chaos only intensifies these growing pains.
Enter godmothers. These strong women are trusted leaders because of their seniority, wisdom and communication skills. The FASST project teams ask them to act as role models for adolescent girls experiencing social and academic difficulties due to past traumas. Godmothers are trained to provide psychosocial support and guidance on everything from menstruation and healthy relationships, to the importance of education. They also inform communities about the dangers of early marriage and educate them on preventing gender-based violence.
Girls have reported increased confidence and self-esteem and voiced their enthusiasm for the program. They have also convinced their parents to participate in sessions about the harms of early marriage and the importance of menstrual health.
Thanks to raised awareness, they are able to openly talk about sensitive topics. “Girls who thought talking about puberty and sexuality was taboo are now awake,” explains one godmother. “Parents now understand that menstruation cannot prevent a girl from going to school, which was not the case in the past.” She adds that girls are keen to share what they learn with their families and friends, paying forward key messages of care and equality.
Thanks to your generosity, children in Burkina Faso are getting a chance to pursue their education – and their dreams.
Here are some highlights and achievements you've made possible:
are enrolled in schools and accelerated-learning programs.
70 school-management committees
were trained on how to share their knowledge about women’s reproductive health.
have benefited from the Nutritious School Feeding Program, and 1,330 girls who are displaced, orphaned or have parents without income are receiving take-home meals.
– trusted female community leaders – were trained to mentor girls who are experiencing social and academic difficulties or who are at risk of early marriage. The godmothers counselled 2,102 mentees with psychosocial support and confidence-building activities.
180 girls’ & boys’ clubs
have been established to promote girls’ rights and gender equality and help girls manage their periods at school. Club members also make recommendations for improvements to their schools, such as the provision of sports equipment and sanitary supplies, and the refurbishment of washrooms.
are enrolled in remedial courses across 112 schools. These courses support children who have missed school or who have learning difficulties.
WHEN ARMED GROUPS ATTACKED LATIFA’S HOME, she did what any devoted daughter would do: She helped her parents. Her family lost their livestock – which they depended on for income, during the assault. Latifa, who’s one of five children, understood the financial stress her parents were experiencing and accepted her father’s decision to take her out of school.
Latifa helped her mother take care of the house, but she longed to be back in the classroom. Thankfully, with financial assistance from the FASST project, Latifa is back in school. After a cash transfer paid for school fees and supplies, she is learning and earning good grades.
Her mother is thrilled about her daughter’s achievements and supports her decision to return to school. “Some girls drop out because their parents think a girl’s place is to stay at home, learn to clean and get married,” reflects Latifa, recognizing that her own parents didn’t have much choice, given their financial situation. “I want to encourage parents to allow girls to stay in school and refuse to be married when they are young. I hope that the FASST project will be able to support many young girls.”
So far, 877 girls from displaced families have received cash transfers so they can continue their education!
SCHOOLS SHOULD BE SAFE SPACES – places to learn and grow. Unfortunately, not all teachers understand that. “In the past, it was difficult for me to convince teachers that whipping, insulting and mocking students was not a solution for good learning,” says Lompo, a principal of a public primary school in the Est region of Burkina Faso. In many schools, there was no way for anyone to find out what was happening to students behind closed classroom doors.
After consulting with students, the FASST team set up suggestion boxes in the schools so children could report instances of abuse and teachers could be held accountable for unacceptable behaviour. Complaints are dealt with based on their urgency. For example, if they are related to violence, they are immediately escalated to a FASST protection advisor and broader feedback is taken to school-management committees.
Lompo is amazed by the improvements he has seen in his students’ morale and academic performance since the suggestion boxes were created. “This is the first time that a student can complain about the way they are treated in school,” he explains. “Pupils are increasingly trusting teachers and actively participating in classes. My colleagues avoid using insults against children, and we have referred children for psychological care.”
So far, 88 suggestion boxes have been set up across different schools and 2,216 suggestions have been received.
Lompo is grateful for the opportunity to make his school safe and supportive for students. “I personally thank Plan International and the FASST project for making it possible to correct some shortcomings at the school.”
This is the first time that a student can complain about the way they are treated in school. Pupils are increasingly trusting teachers and actively participating in classes.”– Lompo, a principal of a public primary school in the Est region of Burkina Faso
Thank you for your incredible support, which is strengthening the safety of schools and setting students up for success. As children – especially girls – are empowered to overcome obstacles and burdens, their pathways of potential are cleared so they can complete their education.
All of us at Plan International Canada are immensely grateful for your dedication to children’s learning, growth and safety.
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