Education in Burkina Faso offers new opportunities for 2,000 girls

Photo credit: Isabelle Merny

In the Central West region of Burkina Faso, socio-cultural constraints are not conducive to the success of girls in school. Through the Scolarisation des Filles (SCOLFILLES) project, Aide et Action and the L'Occitane Foundation have decided to strengthen access, retention and completion of primary education for 2000 girls. 

In order to improve the situation of girls in Burkina Faso in a sustainable way, the Fondation l'Occitane and Aide et Action, long-time partners, are committed to the SCOLFILLES project. This project will promote the access and promotion of vulnerable girls to primary school in the provinces of Ziro and Sissili, in the Central West region of Burkina Faso. Our common ambition is to accompany more than 2,000 girls on their way to academic success.

A difficult context, especially for girls

In Burkina Faso, primary school enrolment indicators fell considerably between 2017 and 2020. This decline is explained in particular by the socio-political and security situation currently facing the country. Indeed, the crisis has led to the closure of more than 2,000 schools and the internal displacement of more than one million people, including 585,728 young people under the age of 14.

Moreover, the analysis of socio-cultural realities in the Centre West Region reveals perceptions and practices that are not very conducive to girls' success in school. For many families, their schooling is still considered unimportant and the persistence of certain traditional practices such as dotes, abductions or gender-based violence do not improve the situation. Finally, the lack of consideration given to specific problems inherent to their status within schools is an additional obstacle. 

Providing an appropriate response 

Thanks to our project, girls of school age will be enrolled in the first grade, girls who are at risk of dropping out of school before the end of the cycle will be supported, and older girls who are not enrolled in school (or who dropped out early) will be able to benefit from an innovative system of accelerated classes, accumulating the modules of the first three years of primary school over a period of nine months, and thus enter the second grade directly.

School-related costs such as Annual fees and supplies will be covered and the nutrition of children in schools will be improved by supporting the operation of their school canteen. In addition, we want to encourage families living in extreme poverty to increase their income through subsidies and intermediation with microcredit institutions. 

Removing barriers to girls' schooling 

Within the framework of our intervention, approximately 180 teachers will be trained to enable the implementation of specific support courses for the beneficiaries. Finally, awareness-raising sessions for communities and girls will be carried out in order to remove the obstacles to their schooling (early marriages and pregnancies, reluctance of family and friends, self-censorship, etc.) and to lift the taboo associated with menstruation (distribution of sanitary protection, rehabilitation or construction of latrines in schools, etc.). 

For a period of five years, this project is part of our movement "Education for Women Now"("Education for Women is Now!") which promotes various educational projects for 3 million marginalised women and girls worldwide by 2025.
This will specifically affect 2810 direct beneficiaries in Burkina Faso, including 2000 girls, 180 teachers, 630 members of community school co-management bodies and 500 families. Thanks to its support, the L'Occitane Foundation gives our teams the means to make a lasting difference in order to offer new opportunities for the future to Burkinabe girls.

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