Lambs Support Village Girls' Education

by Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education
Lambs Support Village Girls' Education

Today, we celebrate the end of our fundraising for the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project in northern Burkina Faso.  Association NEEED who runs this project reports that since the beginning of this project in 2000, the project has enabled 10,143 village girls from 375 villages to enter primary school, girls who otherwise would not have been able to attend school due to their parents’ inability to support their education.   With the introduction of NEEED’s Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project strategy in several more villages next year, NEEED will have responded to the requests of all interested villages in the region. 

We would like to take a (big) moment to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for what you helped us achieve.  YOUR generosity through GlobalGiving has supported the primary – secondary education of 1,550 of these girls! 

This has been a very successful project, both in terms of the academic achievements of the girls and in terms of the commitment of villagers to sustain the strategy to continue enrolling younger girls into school as they reach school age.

In addition to enrolling 10,143 village girls (daughters of subsistence farmers) to primary school, the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project has created a growing commitment among parents to the education of their daughters.  This is seen in the numbers of villages and girls participating in this project; and in parents’ commitment to continuing to use this strategy for the education of other village girls.  In cases in which first lambs received by six-year old girls were female and pregnant, these girls were able to keep a lamb and some have developed a small herd of two-six lambs over their years in school.  In keeping with traditional Burkinabe culture, in some village primary schools girls who have benefitted from this project reimburse the funds initially received from the project to allow another younger girl to enter school, using the same Lambs Support Girls’ Education strategy.

In 2018, 89.6% of girls enrolled in school by the Lambs Support Girls’ Education received their Certificat d’Etudes Primaires, (compared with 56.1% of students in the region and 61.6% of students nationally).  In 2011 when I visited several homes of girls enrolled in school through the project, a proud mother showed me where her young daughter sits on the ground and studies at night, using the lamp that she received from the project when she entered school.

With these high graduation rates from primary school, and their lambs to support them, these young girls are continuing on to middle and secondary school in very high numbers. 

 A smaller number of these girls continue on to postsecondary education, constrained only by the cost of this education and the limited availability of funds to support them.  Through the generosity of donors, since 2010 NEEED has been able to offer 220 scholarships for primary school teacher training, 59 scholarships for nursing and midwifery training and 35 for university educations (in medicine, law, science, geography, English, economics, business communication, management and accounting – all in Burkina).  Again, in Burkina tradition, one graduate has committed to using half of her first year salary to pay for a scholarship for another deserving young woman.

Our commitment to these hardworking village girls does not stop here.  Please check out https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/needed-school-lunches/ which supports a noon meal for these girls while they are attending the Lycee Moderne de l’Amitie (middle/secondary school which many of these girls attend); and https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/post-secondary-education-for-girls-in-burkina-faso/ which supports scholarships for primary school teacher training.

Thank you for your continuing support for the education of village girls in Burkina Faso!


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Fanta with her lambs
Fanta with her lambs

The village of Riqui is an example of the success of Assn NEEED’s Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project in northern Burkina Faso.  In the school year 2014-2015, NEEED responded to Riqui’s request to participate in this project by supporting the entry into primary school of 43 girls – each with a lamb and school materials - for the first year of school.

Of the 43 girls who entered primary school in Riqui, thanks to Assn NEEED and to our collective support, 40 are in their fifth year of primary school.  (Three left Riqui’s primary school two years ago as their families moved to Ivory Coast in search of employment.)  NEEED staff met recently with students, parents and teachers in Riqui.  The students shared that selling their lambs (and buying new younger ones) each year has enabled them to buy school materials and clothes to enable them to stay in school, and to contribute occasionally, when necessary, to their family’s food needs.  An added bonus: because sheep often have twins, and occasionally triplets, girls who were lucky enough to be given a “first” female lamb who was pregnant at the time now have 2-6 lambs.  These young girls are learning the value of building their “asset”, knowledge which will continue to serve them as they grow up.  

Academically, over the past 14 years, 84% of the village girls enrolled in primary school through the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Projecthave passed the national exit exam at the end of primary school, qualifying them to continue on to middle school, compared with 64% of their peers throughout the northern region.  And it keeps getting better. 2016: 86.3% passed; 2017: 87.1% passed.  In 2018 89.6% received their Certificat d’Etudes Primaires, (compared with 58.8% of students in the province, 56.1% of students in the region and 61.6% of students nationally).

NEEED sincerely thanks GlobalGiving donors for your support without which the education of village girls in northern Burkina Faso, and the increasingly positive cultural climate for girls’ education in this region, would not be possible.

Haoua with her lambs
Haoua with her lambs
Aissa with her lambs
Aissa with her lambs
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Nematou
Nematou

Young village girls have inspiring stories about having the opportunity to go to school.  It’s also important to hear from the adults in their world, especially their leaders and their parents, about how they view girls’ education.  These adults are the focus of this report.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, in a keynote address at the European Development Days, June 5-6, 2018, declared that “Education is the only way to fight against early marriage.  Education remains an essential vector for transforming the lives of young girls in all sectors of a nation’s life. Even more, it is an effective weapon against all practices that belong to another era. The world cannot afford to leave half of its human potential unused as it seeks to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs).”   President Kabore’s open and candid declarations about the importance of girls’ education speak to very positive cultural changes in Burkina and to the growing commitment of government to promote girls’ education.

Ouedraogo Madi, President of the Village Development Committee and Chief of the village Bourbo. “Our sincere thank you to Association NEEED and its partner, Friends of Burkina Faso, for we know that behind all the work done by NEEED to encourage each village to send their young girls to school, there are NEEED’s partners who sacrifice in order to enable the education of our children.  NEEED’s support of school materials, lamps, uniforms and a lamb for our young girls has in fact propelled the education of all children in our village. As proof, we had to build a second school of mud walls and thatched roof.   We are very grateful to NEEED for helping us recently to replace this school by more permanent classrooms. 

Ouedraogo Zoenabo, Parent and President of PTA. “I speak for all women in Bourbo because there is not a single person here who does not have a family member who has benefitted from the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project.  Before this project, parents were only able to send one out of four children to school.  The others stayed home.  In view of the school materials given our daughters entering primary school, and our ability to continue to provide them each year – thanks to the lambs our daughters receive the first year - even our daughters who are too young to go to school beg their parents to enroll them in school.  Before this project came to our village, many girls dropped out of primary school.  Now most of them go on to secondary school.  Our profound gratitude to Association NEEED and Friends of Burkina Faso for propelling the education of our daughters.”

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Mamounata
Mamounata

Mamounata and Alima are two village girls who entered primary school in 2010 thanks to the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project.   Following six years of primary school, both will enter their third year of middle school this fall.

Both girls are already successful entrepreneurs. As happens occasionally, the lambs they received from this project when they entered primary school turned out to be pregnant.  In keeping with the project’s strategy – parents raising and selling their daughter’s lamb at the end of each school year in order to pay for her school fees and materials for the next year while buying a younger lamb to raise and sell the following year – the girls were able to keep the younger generation lamb.  Mamounata now has nine sheep and Alima seven.  The sale of their lambs/sheep have continued to pay for their school fees and materials and one set of clothes each year.  It has also enabled them to pay for their lunches and library fees at school and allowed them to get bicycles which are necessary for them to get from their villages to their middle schools.  Mamounata adds that, along with progressing well with her studies, she has started raising chickens as a small side business.  Alima’s goal is to become a primary school teacher.  Mamounata and Alima express their deepest gratitude to GlobalGiving donors for having given them the opportunity for an education.

This year, 89.6% of village girls enrolled in primary school with the support of this project passed their year-end national exams compared with 61.6% of students nationally.  As the beginning of the new school year approaches, we hope to enable another 75 young girls from five villages to begin their educational journey with the help of a lamb to support their remaining 12 years of primary – secondary school.  An initial $80/girl is all it takes.  We ask for your help in giving these bright young girls the only opportunity they will have to embark on their educations.  They and their indigent parents will take it from there.

Thank you!

Alima
Alima
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Azera
Azera

Azera, Risnata and Aminata are in their first year of primary school.  All three are from subsistence-farming families in small villages in northern Burkina Faso.  They were only able to enter school because of the support of the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project.   Recently, they shared with us their reactions to primary school.  As is obvious in their expressions, they are still adapting to this new experience.  Typical of most of these young village girls, adjustment to the learning environment and to the other children takes time.  Azera, Risnata and Aminata all said that they feel like strangers in this new environment and they expressed anxiety and apprehension about asserting themselves or interacting with other children.

We are confident, however, that this is the starting point to a much brighter future.  To see how past students supported by this project develop socially and succeed educationally as they progress through primary, middle and secondary school is truly amazing.  The expressions on the faces of middle school girls supported by this project, and their results in national year-end exams, demonstrate the potential that these village girls have and what they can achieve, given the opportunity to go to school.   

Academically, 84% of girls enrolled in primary school through the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Projecthave passed national exit exams at the end of primary school, qualifying them to continue on to middle school, compared with 64% of their peers in the region.  These girls have continued to excel far beyond their peers in middle and secondary school and a number of them have qualified for scholarships for postsecondary education/training in primary school teaching, nursing, midwifery or a university education.  All it took was an initial investment of $80 and the girls and their parents took it from there.    

Such a successful girls’ education endeavor and such a simple concept.  Raising awareness of the importance of girls’ education by providing modest encouragement has a great multiplier effect.

As this school year ends and we begin to prepare for next year, we seek to enable 150 young village girls to enter primary school next year.  At $80 per child (for a full 13 years of education – a real bargain with this self-help strategy), this will require $12,000.  Please help us give these girls the opportunity to start their educations and, in the long run, contribute to the future of their communities and nation.

We thank you for your support!!

Risnata
Risnata
Aminata
Aminata
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Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)

Location: Chester, CA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Suzanne Plopper
Chester, CA United States

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