Burkina Faso: From child-friendly space to school is just one step
November 06, 2023 by Myriam Dossou, UNICEF Burkina Faso |
3 minutes read

In Burkina Faso, child-friendly spaces help identify internally displaced children and put them back on the path to school.

Aminata Sonde, an 11-year-old young girl, is an internally displaced child from Oursi in the Sahel region. Aminata and her brother were separated from their parents and live with their aunt Mariam Bande in Sector 4 of Barsalogho, a township in the Centre-Nord region of Burkina Faso.

Because of attacks by unidentified armed groups, Mariam was forced to flee with the children to find refuge in Boussouma, located about 60 km from Barsalogho.

In Boussouma, Aminata joined the Child Friendly Space (CFS) created by the Association pour le Développement Communautaire et la Promotion des Droits de l'Enfant (ADC/PDE), thanks to the support of UNICEF and funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

There, Aminata, like her other friends, benefits from psychosocial support and flourishes thanks to the games, leisure and other socio-educational activities set up by the association.

"In our CFS, we don't only bring the children to have fun; we provide them with psychosocial support, and they also take writing classes," says Judith Kabré, project manager at ADC/PDE.

The commune of Boussouma has 23,797 internally displaced persons (IDPs), including over 18,000 children as of February 2023. Of these children, 98% are out of school.

The commune's social services, like those of other communes in the region facing a security crisis, are struggling to meet the needs of IDPs.

Zéphirin Toe
"CFS came at the right time because we have a lot of IDPs in our commune, most of whom are school-age children. Thanks to CFS, children no longer roam in the wilderness; they are well integrated socially and we even observe a certain cohesion between parents."
Zéphirin Toe
Head of social services in Boussouma

In the six months following her arrival in Boussouma, Aminata joined a cohort of 17 children deemed fit to attend school at the public elementary school Boussouma D.

"At first, it was not easy at all. The parents did not want to be separated from their children, who were assigned to housework and farming. We went from family to family to discuss this with them, and we were able to convince them of the importance of school," explains Ms. Kabré.

Aminata is enrolled in the first grade where she started school late. Despite the delay, she was fourth in her class of 88 students in the first term evaluation.

Awa Bamogo, first grade teacher at Boussouma Primary School, (in white) with the students in her class. Credit: UNICEF Burkina Faso
Awa Bamogo, first grade teacher at Boussouma Primary School, (in white) with the students in her class.
UNICEF Burkina Faso

"Aminata is doing very well, as are the other 16 who were enrolled late. Out of the 17 students I received in November 2022, only two did not pass," said Awa Bamogo, teacher of the grade 1 class at Boussouma D Primary School.

In Burkina Faso, there were over 2 million IDPs as of March 2023, and 50% of them are children. In the same period, approximately 6,134 schools out of a total of 20,676 nationwide remain closed, affecting 1 million children.

UNICEF is supporting the protection of children by strengthening psychosocial and mental health support, to the benefit of more than 25,200 children, including 14,000 girls.

With funding from GPE, UNICEF has provided an educational response to 223,200 children with educational needs, including 137,500 girls, in six crisis-affected regions.

Related blogs