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Côte d'Ivoire

Promoting education and investing in the future in Côte d'Ivoire

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2011/Monier
Tchelibeguevogo Community School, built by 12 different communities from 12 different villages.

By Cifora Monier

TCHELIBEGUEVOGO, Côte d'Ivoire, 17 August 2011 – UNICEF in collaboration with Ivorian Regional Direction of National Education recently lent its support to a new community school constructed in the rural village of Tchelibeguevogo in northern Côte d’Ivoire. 11 neighbouring villages joined in a collective effort to build the centrally located school that will provide educational opportunity to an area, which previously had to rely on one school in Korhogo over 100 km away.

Taking action

“We are poor cotton farmers in this part of the country,” said Mr. Yessehere Soro, President of the Cotton Growers Cooperative for the twelve villages who built the school. “When the country got divided into two, north and south, in September 2002, our children suffered the most.  It was not very easy to move around.”

In the past, Mothers had to leave their families behind in the villages to enrol their children in school in Korhogo and live with the children for the entire year. Realising there were too many young children out of school, the surrounding villages joined forces and took action.

“We discussed the problem with the local school inspector,” explained Mr. Yessehere. “With the support of UNICEF we were given the go ahead to build our school.”

UNICEF provided educational and recreational kits to the newly built community school, and is currently working on a plan to construct latrines for the students.

Right to education

The Early Childhood Development (ECD) aims to protect the rights of young children to develop to their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential. “These rights are enshrined in Articles 28 and 31 of the Convention on the Rights on Child, respectively, as the right to education and the right to play,” explained UNICEF Education Officer, Alain Oria.

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2011/Monier
Mariam, 10, between her brothers Yacouba,11, and Abou, 8, who go to the same community school.

In support of expanding these programmes, UNICEF is working with partners on the development of a National Integrated Plan for Early Childhood Development. UNICEF also works with the national Departments of Social Development, Basic Education and Health to promote cost-effective forms of ECD, with an emphasis on community and family-based models, particularly in poor and disadvantaged communities.

‘Happy to be at school’

There are 81 children who now attend the community school ranging in age from five to 12 - 37 of them are girls. Two qualified teachers are currently on staff, one paid directly by the community and the other by the Ministry of National Education. For now, there are two grades being taught - grades one and two. If all goes according to plan a third grade will be opened for the 2011-2012 school year.
Miriam Yao is a 10-year-old girl who is attending school for the first time in her life.

“I am happy to be in school,” she said excitedly. “Before, my older brother Yacouba was the only one going to school in our family. He is a little angry at me because our youngest brother Abou and me are now together in the same class, but I don’t care, I am just happy to be in school with all my friends.”



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