The children

Early Chilhood Years

Primary school years



Early Chilhood Years

© Unicef Burkina Faso/2007/Tarpilga C.
Plays and songs also contribute to the awakening of the child

Early Childhood: Ensuring a good start for children

In Burkina Faso, as in so many other West African countries, the overall situation of very young children is a cause for concern. Around one fifth of all children die before they reach the age of five.
The major causes of this high child mortality in Burkina Faso are malaria; vaccine-preventable diseases like measles; under-nutrition; diarrhea; and acute respiratory infections due to dust pollution. 
A 2003 study showed that 39% of all Burkina children under five were underweight, evidence of widespread chronic under-nutrition. Nineteen per cent of under-fives suffered from acute under-nutrition, or wasting.

In terms of early childhood education, children under three who are not at home with their mothers go to day care centers and nurseries. Some are in orphanages—which operate particularly in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. A little over one per cent of children under six are placed in Bisongo, a community-based integrated early childhood development Center, for 3-6 years children in rural and sub urban area, which also help to relieve older girls of childcare so they can go to school, and free women for income generation and other self-development activities such as literacy classes.
In 2005, the last year for which figures are available, Burkina Faso had 265 schools for the under six age group, 213 of which were government schools.

Access to water and sanitation is a major issue for young children, who are more vulnerable to waterborne diseases. In rural areas, and in the outlying areas of the larger cities, access of households to drinking water and hygiene and sanitary facilities, remains severely limited.

Children suffer the lack of civil status. Despite an ongoing birth registration campaign by UNICEF and partners since 2003, only 33% of children are registered at birth. The problem is especially acute in rural areas. Girls in particular undergo various forms of abuse and exploitation, including female genital mutilation/cutting, physical abuse, and sexual violence.

UNICEF has partnered with the government in developing a strategic framework to combat poverty, and a National Plan of Action to address these various issues.




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