Engaging Burundi’s youth with mobile libraries and play

The Global Partnership for Education and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) support Libraries Without Borders and Play International, two NGOs working with young people in Burundi, in line with the country's desire to develop education.

February 12, 2021 by GPE Secretariat
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1 minute read
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Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD

This blog was previously published by AFD.

Since 2005, Burundi has made education a policy and budget priority, as a pathway to peace and equal opportunity. Although the goal of universal access to primary education has been achieved, Burundi’s education system still masks significant inequalities.

In response, the government and the sector partners, with support from UNICEF, developed the Transitional Education Plan (TEP) for 2018-2020 in order to address sector challenges. This response is being driven by the reform of basic education (the Twige Neza program).

In 2019, Burundi received a US$25.6 million grant (EUR 21 million) from the Global Partnership for Education, with AFD as grant agent managing the grant, as well as a grant of EUR 4 million from AFD to implement the Twige Neza program.

AFD is working in the country with two NGOs specializing in education: Play International and Libraries without Borders. A photographer accompanied these NGOs in the field to document their work.

This youth center in Isare, a rural commune on the outskirts of Bujumbura, uses LWB’s Ideas Box to provide academic classes and extracurricular activities to children in this community
This youth center in Isare, a rural commune on the outskirts of Bujumbura, uses LWB’s Ideas Box to provide academic classes and extracurricular activities to children in this community.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
The government-built youth center had no equipment prior to the arrival of LWB.
The Ideas Box consists of four compact color-coded modules containing all the tools needed to set up a multimedia library in a dedicated space. The government-built youth center had no equipment prior to the arrival of LWB.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Before an Ideas Box is deployed, LWB holds discussions with the partner community.
Before an Ideas Box is deployed, LWB holds discussions with the partner community. The specific content needs are discussed and then the content is curated by head office teams. LWB's content team works on a variety of topics including psychosocial support (gender-based violence), sexual health, inclusive education, rights, training and entertainment.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Once the content has been designed, the Ideas Box is deployed in the field and includes a one-week training course for local facilitators to enable them to fully leverage the content with the local community.
Once the content has been designed, the Ideas Box is deployed in the field and includes a one-week training course for local facilitators to enable them to fully leverage the content with the local community. This content is refreshed throughout the project, which lasts three to four years, with a view to sustaining the project without technical support. At the end of the project, the partner (in this case, Isare commune, which pays the facilitators) assumes ownership of the Ideas Box. The LWB teams then continue to support the Ideas Box networks throughout the country by conducting discussion forums for facilitators.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
The children in the commune act as if they are entering a library and scan their membership card.
The children in the commune act as if they are entering a library and scan their membership card. The service is free of charge.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Children in a journalism class.
Children in a journalism class. Classes and activities change every day. The timetables and uses of the Ideas Box are posted on a door.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Children surfing on tablets, under the guidance of Alexis Nimubona, the facilitator in charge of the Ideas Box at the center.
Children surfing on tablets, under the guidance of Alexis Nimubona, the facilitator in charge of the Ideas Box at the center.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
In Burundi, where basic education has been free since 2005, the NGO Play International has been using sports to address the causes of school dropout (gender, disability and poverty).
In Burundi, where basic education has been free since 2005, the NGO Play International has been using sports to address the causes of school dropout (gender, disability and poverty). To reenroll and keep children in school, the organization is training a network of teachers and sports facilitators in playdagogy, a methodology that uses games and sports to help children learn concepts such as integration and tolerance, as well as the sciences and French.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Playdagogy has three phases.
Playdagogy has three phases. In phase 1, “no-theme games” teach the children rules, respect for others, and how to share a ball.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
In phase 2, children play “themed-games” that have increasingly complex rules.
In phase 2, children play “themed-games” that have increasingly complex rules. This phase introduces them to topics such as the inclusion of girls in school.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
In phase 3 - the discussion phase - children take the time to discuss the topic covered in the game.
In phase 3 - the discussion phase - children take the time to discuss the topic covered in the game. Discussions are open: there are no wrong questions and each child goes home with a keyword to reflect on.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Oscar Nsengiyumva, 33, is the lead sports facilitator at a youth center in Kamenge Nord, Bujumbura.
Olympic field in Kanyosha, to the south of Bujumbura. Oscar Nsengiyumva, 33, is the lead sports facilitator at a youth center in Kamenge Nord, Bujumbura: “Activities are tailored to the children's learning needs throughout the year. During the exam period, topics help them act accordingly. Here is one example of a game: “Why I go to school.” School is the prize, while the balls and other cones represent the obstacles that can distract you."
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Adèle Ndikumasabo, 30, has been working with Play International for three years.
Adèle Ndikumasabo, 30, has been working with Play International for three years. She started out as a teaching assistant, was subsequently put in charge of events, and is now a project leader. Every day, she helps design new games and train facilitators: design of textbooks, strengthening and monitoring facilitators’ capacities, identification of their needs, etc.
She thinks that Play International’s added value lies in the messages conveyed: children learn because they actively participate in the sessions. In the gender games, they take turns playing, for example, the role of the victim (hit by the ball, trapped in a hoop on the ground, one arm behind the back) and the aggressor (who tries to hit the other with the ball).
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Faustin Nduwayezu, 42, is a public school teacher.
Faustin Nduwayezu, 42, is a public school teacher. He has been working with Play International for 10 years.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
Jospin Mugisha (left), Leslie Nirema (center) and Justin Habonimana are students in the playdagogy program.
Jospin Mugisha (left), Leslie Nirema (center) and Justin Habonimana are students in the playdagogy program. Jospin is 14 and has been taking classes for four years. He became aware of the program while walking across the field. These activities encouraged him to go back to school. He wants to be a teacher or an office employee.
Leslie is 14 years old. She has been participating in the playdagogy program for two years, where she has learned about respecting others and the importance of school. Her favorite sports are judo and soccer. She likes learning the rules and having fun. She would like to be a pilot.
Justin, 17, has been playing sports with Play International for the past 10 years, mainly at school, but sometimes at the youth center in his neighborhood. It was Faustin Nduwayezu who introduced him to the program back then. That is what prompted him to go back to school: he went from roaming the streets to receiving all sorts of advice during these activity sessions. Now he is the one giving advice to the other children.
Credit: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar / AFD
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Basic education, Youth
Sub-Saharan Africa: Burundi

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