POSTED February 5, 2020
Teachers train to educate children in fragile country context
Join us as we chat with a Burkina Faso teacher who shares her experience
By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso
In some regions of Burkina Faso, a teacher’s job has changed significantly since 2015, as education has become threatened, due to ongoing terrorist attacks among different ethnic groups.
More than 1,700 schools have been closed, and approximately 246,000 children may not have classes this year, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. Children Believe is supporting government efforts to help kids access education.
We’ve been working with our local partner, OCADES Fada, in the Eastern Region, organizing training for 44 teachers in 22 schools. Our goal is to provide resources and expertise on how to work in the evolving country context, fostering resilience and sensitivity while ensuring children’s safety.
I met Natacha*, one of the teachers struggling daily to teach children our sponsors help. We sat down to chat, and I learned more about the situation.
Tell me about yourself
I teach in a makeshift school in the district of Yamba (Eastern Region) — a third-grade class…. Conditions are not [great] for me to provide good service to children…. For instance, some children used to bring their [chairs]. We begged the nearby church to lend us their benches. We can’t send a child home because there is no bench at school.
Tell me more about the class environment
[I’ve] had 50 pupils in Grade 2 last year. This year we enrolled 22 more. [Previously we had] community volunteers as teachers. I have come to replace those volunteers.
How long do you teach each year?
In our school district, we [have] had class year-round; that’s not the case now, (as the security situation evolves).
How’s the country’s context impacting children’s education?
This year, in our district composed of 33 schools, only 13 are open, and we don’t know what will happen in the coming weeks. We pray the situation will not worsen for us as [it has] in other areas. [[Editor’s note: In other communities, schools have been burned, children are traumatized and sent home; and sometimes teachers are threatened or killed.]]
As teachers, our role is to provide education. But when the situation becomes the way it is, we are concerned and worried about children’s future.
What are you learning at this Children Believe training session?
We are here for training on education in emergency situations, which is good as it is what we [are experiencing]. We were not prepared to work in such a situation. But now we are in a crisis. We do not have a choice.
Natacha finds hope through Children Believe; even the name means something to her: “It makes me think of a garden full of children… playing together without any distinction of ethnicity or religion whatsoever… a beautiful world.”
The Children Believe team remains committed to providing equal opportunities for children so they can all be educated no matter the context.
*We changed the teacher’s name for her protection.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.