As a testament to the seriousness with which both parents and young girls respond to the opportunity for an education in northern Burkina Faso, a full 100% of primary school girls supported by the Lambs for School Project succeeded in their first trimester exams this school year. As indicated in earlier updates, girls supported by this project have consistently outperformed their classmates at all levels.
We are re-naming the Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso Project the Lambs for School Project, reflecting the locally conceived and very successful strategy for engaging parents in the support of their daughters’ education. This strategy was and is to provide 6-year old village girls with the basic necessities that allow them to enter village primary school plus a lamb (at a total cost of $90). The girls and their parents raise the lambs and sell them each year in order to buy school materials for the following year and a new lamb, this for the following 12 years of primary, middle and secondary school. This project is the key which enables young village girls to enter school and get an education instead of being married off at an early age with no education and without their consent.
In a region where culture has not been very supportive of the education of girls in the past, and where extreme poverty means that parents are unable to pay the basic cost of sending their daughters to school, both village chiefs and parents are asking in ever increasing numbers for help in enrolling their daughters in primary school.
This year, in collaboration with two generous partners, we were able to send 13 Lambs for School village girls who graduated from secondary school to training in primary school teaching, nursing, midwifery and one to the university to study law.
Given the phenomenal educational success of these girls and the great demand for increasing girls’ educational opportunity expressed by many villages in the region, NEEED (the local NGO that runs this project) is asking us to increase the number of girls we support next year from 300 to 400. The girls and their parents will do the rest: the girls will continue to work hard and succeed in school; and the parents will raise and sell their daughters’ lambs to support their educational needs, and encourage their daughters to do their very best in school.
These girls, like Ouedraogo Abibata (see photo) are counting on all of us, their partners, to give them a chance at an education.
"There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls". Kofi Annon, former U.N. Secretary General
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