In Burkina Faso, education offers new future opportunities for 2,000 girls

10 June 2021

Photo credit: Isabelle Merny

In the Center-West region, as in other regions of Burkina Faso, socio-cultural constraints and certain practices are not favorable to the educational success of girls. Through the Girls' Schooling project (SCOLFILLE), Aide et Action and the L'Occitane Foundation have decided to strengthen access, maintenance and completion of primary school for 2,000 girls.

In order to bring about lasting change in the situation of girls in Burkina Faso, the L'Occitane Foundation and Aide et Action, long-standing partners, are committed through the SCOLFILLE project. This will promote the access and promotion of vulnerable young girls to primary school in the provinces of Ziro and Sissili, in the Center-West region of Burkina Faso. Our common ambition is to support 2,000 girls on the path to academic success. These girls are mainly from poor or displaced families, orphans or living with a slight disability.

A difficult context, especially for girls

In Burkina Faso, primary school enrollment indicators have dropped considerably between 2017 and 2020. This decrease can be explained in particular by the socio-political and security situation the country is currently facing. Indeed, the crisis has closed more than 2,000 schools and caused the internal displacement of more than one million people, among which 50% (585,728) are young people under the age of 14.

In addition, the analysis of socio-cultural realities in the Center-West Region reveals perceptions and practices that are not very favorable to the educational success of girls. For many families, girls' education is still considered unimportant and the persistence of certain traditional practices such as dowries, kidnappings or gender-based violence do not improve the situation. Finally, the lack of consideration of specific problems inherent to their status within schools constitutes an additional obstacle. These include the issue of managing periods, the lack of adequate places for their intimate needs, etc.

Provide an appropriate response

Thanks to our project, girls of school age will be enrolled in 1st 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 out of school, or drop out of school early, will benefit from an innovative system of accelerated classes. This allows accumulating over 9 months, the modules of the first 3 years of the primary cycle, and thus directly integrating the 3rd grade.

School-related costs such as annual fees and supplies will be covered and children's food in schools will be improved through support for the operation of their school canteen (restaurant). In addition, we want to encourage families living in conditions of extreme poverty to increase their income through grants and intermediation with microcredit institutions to set up or develop income-generating activities.

Remove the obstacles to girls' education

As part of our intervention, around 180 teachers will be trained to allow the establishment of specific support courses for girls. Finally, sensitization sessions for communities and girls will be carried out in order to help remove obstacles to their schooling (early marriage and pregnancy, reluctance of the entourage, self-censorship, etc.) and to lift the taboo associated with menstruation (distribution of hygienic protection, rehabilitation or construction of latrines in schools, etc).

The five-year SCOLFILLE project is part of our international campaign "Education for Women Now" which promotes various educational projects targeting 3 million marginalized women and girls around the world by 2025.

It will reach precisely 2,810 people in Burkina Faso, including 2,000 girls, 180 teachers and 630 members of community school co-management bodies. In addition, the project aims to support 500 families in precarious economic situations. Thanks to its support, the L'Occitane Foundation gives our teams the means to make lasting changes in order to offer new opportunities for the future to Burkinabè girls.

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