News in Cote d’Ivoire: ‘Back to School’ Initiative Launched.

1 Jul

Cote D'Ivoire, West Africa

The five month political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) came to an end in early April; however a humanitarian crisis has increasingly spread. The Office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that hundreds of thousands of civilians are STILL displaced, more than two months after the former President Laurent Gbagbo surrendered.

Almost a million children have been affected and over 15% are still unable to return to a stable education institution– many schools were looted or destroyed during the fighting. Moreover, many teachers fled the violence and have still not returned to their classrooms. There is a desperate educational need growing in the country.

Exacerbating the problem is the underlying fact that the education system in the country was weak in the first place. One million children in Cote d’Ivoire have never even been to school. Of the schools that have re-opened and are functioning in the Central, North and West areas, 83.1% do not have the required numbers of desks in classrooms and most lack sufficient latrine capacity, and potable water.

Children in a class in Abidjan*

 

UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have recently launched a ‘Back to School’ initiative which is attempting to address these problems. In conjunction with Save the Children, they are targeting one million children through social mobilisation efforts, by improving learning environments and investing in infrastructure. It is a promising project that should begin to lay the foundation for post secondary education in the country – only children that finish primary and secondary school can progress to a higher education future. We applaud UNICEF, The Ministry of Education and Save the Children in their efforts and we will continue to promote the post-secondary education message throughout Cote d’Ivoire and the rest of Africa.

 

Image Source: Zenman, Wikipedia.org

News Sources: UNICEF and Allafrica.com

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