Education Cannot Wait, partners launch multi year education programme in Burkina Faso
15-01-2021 13:13:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 7406 | Tags:

Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises, together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, launched a new multi-year programme to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in Burkina Faso.

The new programme benefits from an initial three-year $11.1 million allocation in seed funding from ECW to be implemented by UNICEF ($6.1 million) and Enfants du Monde ($5 million) in collaboration with UN and civil society partners. It aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully funded and reach all targeted children and youth. Programme interventions are aligned to Burkina Faso’s National Education in Emergencies Strategy and to the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan.

Stanislas Ouaro, Minister for National Education and Literacy for Burkina-Faso said: “In Burkina Faso, the education sector is suffering the negative effects of both the ongoing security and COVID-19 crises. The security crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,300 schools and a massive displacement of more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic further resulted in the closure of all schools in Burkina Faso for several months. I therefore take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Education Cannot Wait for their unwavering support in our efforts to support education in emergencies.”

Yasmine Sherif, Director, ECW said: “The crisis in Burkina Faso and in the whole Central Sahel is among the fastest deteriorating in the world. We can either watch and do nothing, or we can actually act now by investing in children and adolescents to empower them to achieve their full potential and become positive change agents for their communities. At Education Cannot Wait, we believe in the true transformative power of quality education. With the launch of this new programme, we appeal to additional donors to join us to ensure no girls and boys are left behind in Burkina Faso.”

Sherif stressed the holistic approach of the planned interventions to meet the full range of needs of vulnerable children and youth, including mental health, psychosocial and nutrition support, as well as the focus on girls’ education and the promotion of safe and protective learning environments in line with the Safe School Declaration. 

ECW’s multi-year funding targets 60 per cent girls, and focuses on the most vulnerable, including both forcibly displaced and host community children, as well as children with disabilities. The programme ensures continuity from early childhood education (25 per cent of the total children targeted), to primary (43 per cent) and secondary (33 per cent).

In recent years, violence and insecurity have forced 1,000,000 people to flee their homes in Burkina Faso. Due to growing insecurity and violent attacks against education, teachers and students, school closures doubled between 2017 and 2019, disrupting education for more than 400,000 children. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated the acute vulnerabilities of girls and boys already caught in crisis.

Nationwide, a quarter of girls and boys aged 6-11 are out of school, two-thirds of whom come from six of the highest risk regions: Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel. The new multi-year programme focuses on these six regions, where the primary completion rate is just 29 per cent, or less than half of what it is at the national level; and where 56 per cent of girls and boys, particularly adolescents, are out of school. Being out of school exposes these girls, boys, and adolescents to a plethora of risks including recruitment into armed groups, forced marriage and pregnancy, and engagement in harmful child labour work practices.

Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso said: “We are confident that this partnership will improve the access to education for vulnerable children severely impacted by the crisis and prevent learning loss, the risk of drop-out and exposure to risks of child labor and forced marriage. We know that investing in education is critical to give girls and boys the opportunity to realize their full potential and to become active and productive citizens of the future. Therefore, we must act now, and accelerate our actions to protect education financing and to fast track the access to safe schools and reintegrate all children out-of-school, especially the most marginalized girls and children with disabilities”

Tougma Téné Sankara, Regional Coordinator Sahel,  Enfants du Monde said: “Enfants du Monde is pleased to have been selected as one of the grantees of ECW’s seed funding allocation to the Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Burkina Faso. We are committed to working with partners from the national NGO consortium, the Education Ministry through the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergencies and its other technical services as well as with the Education Cluster to meet the programme objectives in support of the National Strategy for Education in Emergencies.” 

The multi-year seed funding brings the total of ECW investments in Burkina Faso to over $21 million since mid-2019. ECW has also announced new investments to roll out similar multi-year resilience programmes to respond to pressing education needs in the neighbouring countries of Mali and Niger, which are also affected by crises in the Central Sahel.