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Unicef in action

© Unicef Burkina Faso/2007/Tarpilga C.
Applying attentively in class

Bisongo, satellite schools and the CEBNF, the winning trio of Basic Education promotion in Burkina

UNICEF has supported the setting up of three innovative educational approaches in Burkina Faso since 1995. This is based on a vision of strengthening the educational continuum that encompasses early childhood, primary education and non-formal education.

- The community-based integrated early childhood development programme called « Bisongo» in the Moore language, aims at providing an integrated package of health care service, nutrition, mental development, education and protection, with a view to ensuring the full development of the child. Bisongo is a community-based integrated early childhood development Center, for 3-6 years old children in rural and sub urban areas. The Bisongo also helps to free older girls from childcare responsibilities, allowing them to attend school.

- Satellites schools - an original experience of incorporating the school into its environment, linguistically, culturally and geographically, due to the involvement of local communities. Satellite school bring education for graves 1-3 closer to communities, allowing transfer to higher graves in classical school when children are older and able to journey further away from home.

- Non Formal Basic Education designed for children aged 9-15 through the development of Non Formal Basic Education Centers (CEBNF from the French). This component provides a basic education and vocational apprenticeship training designed to ensure a better social and economic integration into the society of young people who have not had a chance to enter a complete school in the formal system.

UNICEF’s support follows six major streams:

-         Research and action through support to basic feasibility studies and periodic assessments

-         Improving access through the setting up of facilities (class rooms and latrines); providing equipment such as offices, desks, and water fountains; also providing tents as part of the emergency response to the impact of the crisis that broke out in Cote d’Ivoire and sent thousands across the border into Burkina Faso. These innovations have been applied to 290 satellites schools, 26 bisongos and 52 CEBNFs. They provide 41,000 children with a basic education and a variety of services.

-         Enhancing the quality of education through appropriate training and refresher courses designed for teachers, leaders and women who run bisongos, called “petites-mamans” or little mothers.

-         Strengthening the capacity of entities in charge of education at the central and local levels by providing them with logistical support such as vehicles, motorbikes and bicycles designed to ensure the smooth running of supervision activities; and training senior managers through study trips and regional workshops

Improving the involvement of local communities through literacy and systematic training of Mother Educators Associations, management committees and Student Parent Associations. These were also given bicycles to allow them to support children, students and learners

-          Advocacy and social mobilization so as to allow a gradual integration of these innovations into the national educational system and lead to improvement in girls’ education in terms of access and quality.

The issue of rehabilitating returnees from Cote d’Ivoire, especially in western and southwest Burkina Faso, remains a source of major concern for UNICEF.



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