Helping adolescents to grow and thrive
Burkina Faso is a young country. In 2005, on a population of approximately 13 million inhabitants, more than 7 million had less than 18 years (source : The State of the World's Children 2007). Children and adolescents make up 56% of the population. However, they are the poorest part of the society and lack access to basic social services -- such as health, education, nutrition and employment.
Classical educational models have been found largely inadequate to prepare young people for the vagaries of a changing society. On the other hand, life skills training helps them acquire the know-how to negotiate, to avoid risky behavior, to communicate effectively, to resolve conflicts and to take carefully thought-out decisions. These skills are necessary for young people’s growth on a number of levels: physical, social, psychological, cultural. Life skills are the key to the full participation of Burkina Faso adolescents in society.
UNICEF believes the rehabilitation of adolescents who have been subjected to all sorts of exclusion requires action both in terms of education and socio-economic care. Many NGOs and associations have subscribed to UNICEF’s strategies: non-formal education, such as day and evening literacy classes; returning children to school; vocational training; apprenticeship; support for start-up businesses in the provision of seed money or equipment; psychological follow up; medical care; and clothing allowance.
UNICEF is helping to make the use of these strategies more systematic in order to ensure the development and participation of adolescents in Burkina Faso. Life skills training is being integrated into the country’s Non Formal Education programme and forms the basis of a number of social and humanitarian actions aimed at vulnerable adolescents.
UNICEF supports local NGOs or associations who use these practical approaches to help young people.
In 2005 UNICEF helped 12 NGOs and associations that trained 4,005 adolescents, 58 per cent of whom were girls. A development and participation project meant for vulnerable adolescents is being finalized.