Already 4 weeks gone by in this trip to Burkina. We are getting out of the rainy season and the temperature is rising. It has been a rather heavy and long rainy season. People here say that it will be cold in December and January, because of those heavy rains.

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Impact with our actions for education

In the rural areas the school year in public schools (primary and secondary schools) has not started in good conditions. The main problem comes from the government, but also from the lack of motivation of both teachers and their supervisors.

There is a big mess in the movement of teachers and, 3 weeks after the official start of the school year, many needs are not yet fulfilled.

For the primary schools of the villages where we are active, we are giving support such has training of teachers, some gasoline for the control of the supervisors and help with missing teachers. More and more we realize that this type of support has little impact. If we help with teachers for example, the local inspector is going to assign teachers first to other schools than the ones of our villages. If we train teachers this year they will be gone if not this year probably next year. In 2 of the primary schools we look after, 11 out of the 14 teachers were transferred out!!!

Probably our actions are too small in regards of the primary education organization; “you need a lot of salt to change the taste of a large pot of soup”.

The situation is the same for rural secondary schools. There however we have started the LAP which is 100% under our control, and we can already see the impact of the school. Parents are praising the LAP for the attitude and the knowledge of their children towards working the land.

Does this mean that we have to take control of the primary schools? We do not have the means for that. But maybe we have to support an alternative system of education at the village level, something which can be closer to the needs of the villagers and under their responsibility (vocational type schools). To be followed!

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Above the school of Kouekouesso B and bellow the houses for the teachers.

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Difficulties for villagers to take responsibilities

We have 5 nursery schools. Each of them is run by a director for whom we have paid a 2 years training. They are supposed to report to the mothers association running the school. In order to keep their salary confidential and to help make the administrative paper work for them, ASAP Burkina was paying them directly as well as their social security fees.

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Children of the nursery school of Kouekouesso.

Because of a dispute about salary level, we have decided to give back the responsibilities of paying salaries and doing the paperwork to the mothers associations.

Work contract has to be signed between the directors and their local mother association. The funding for the school depends on the number of children they have.

In one village the mothers association did not want to sign the contract with the director of the nursery school. They are afraid that they will not have the required funds to pay her because not enough children will come to the school. On one hand it is responsible not to sign the contract, on the other hand, the number of children needed in order to pay without problem the director is 60 when there are over 100 children of nursery school age in this village.

In another village, the amount of children who can attend the school is too low to pay for their director. However, they have a very good help who can run the school. The mother association has to tell the director that they cannot afford her. It is impossible for them to take such action. The village had to meet at least 3 times and the elders needed to take the decision.

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Beans in the yard of the nursery school in Kouekouesso.

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Food time

News about the LAP

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Students of the LAP (CAP1 and CAP2) showing off their new sports shirts.

blog 2014-10-19 9Unfortunately one of the girls of the last year had to go back to her village this week. She ran away from the school back to her village a week ago. Her explanation on why she ran away was just lies. After discussion with her she said she wanted to come back to the LAP. Solange the foyer manager, talked with the girls in the dormitory first and then with her and decided to have her do a pregnancy test. It was positive. Based on discussion with her, Solange understood that she was not forced to sleep with the boy. We had to ask her to leave the foyer. She decided to leave the school.

Meal preparation at the LAP (In front: Solange and Kadidjatou, at the back the 2 cooks of the LAP).

Preparation of meals for 215 children breakfast, lunch and dinner is not a small business.

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Old car with around 5 cows watched by 2 men Girl along the road

Proverb of the week

Advice is like a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~Malagasy Proverb
Le conseil est comme un étranger; s’il est le bienvenu, il restera pour la nuit ; sinon il partira le même jour. Proverbe malgache

The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~ African proverb
Les sages créent des proverbes pour que les ignorants apprennent, non pour les répéter. Proverbe africain.

Until next week,

Hervé