Role play at school
March is a good time to look back at the past year. 2014 was a particularly rich year for Blue Cross Chad, especially since its life skills programme gained significant momentum both in terms of numbers and spread but also in terms of improvements in project design and implementation.
In 2014 the project was introduced at two more schools, increasing the number of participating schools in Ndjamena to 6 and the total number of pupils to more than 9,500 students. To increase the relatively low proportion of girls, a girls only-school was included in the program ("Lycée Feminin"). During the same year the project facilitated more than 160 life skills lessons for 33 classes on a weekly basis, reaching a total number of 3'456 students. Importantly the lessons have become an integrated part of the regular school hours, which can be qualified as a major success. It is a further step towards our long-term goal to mainstream life skills into the national curriculum. In addition, every quarter at least one major event involving the whole student population took place, including interschool soccer tournaments. This mass events have attracted big crowds of learners and have contributed to closer interschool relationships.
This project also works with out-of-school youth, namely young motor cycle taxi drivers. The motorcycle taxi drivers are young men who earn their living with taxi rides on motorcycles. In 2014, the number of participating “taxi stands” (the drivers are organised geographically) was increased from 4 to 6. From January until December 2014 a total of 45 open-air life skills lessons were held for at least 110 drivers. Thematic lessons were created to fit the special needs of this target group (among others topics on road safety, on HIV/AIDS and on financial management of small scale business). As the taxi drivers constitute an HIV risk group, special attention is paid to the issue of responsible sexuality. Numerous testimonies indicate that an increased awareness of the target group takes place. What is more: two-thirds of the young men participated in voluntary AIDS testing.
Finally, as part of the policy component of this project, a baseline study documented the number of alcohol outlets that do not comply with the legally stipulated minimum distance to schools. Violations were found in 65% of schools. The project has also carried out test purchases with children and young people – for the first time ever in Chad! 100% of the test buyers, some as young as 10 years old, received the requested alcoholic beverages. This result was made public at a press conference and will serve the basis for measures in the field of youth protection in 2015 and beyond.
Testimonies sometimes say more than words. Find below two stories of change from learners participating in the programme – a girl and a boy:
Hello, my name is Salma. I am a learner at Lycée Ibrahim MHT Itno (high school) and the former President of the life skills club at our school. As a girl, when I introduce myself as club president, others think I cannot lead a group of girls and boys. But I was able to hold my mandate till the end. I realized that with ambition and sufficient self-esteem also a girl can reach important goals. Blue Cross has done huge things for us.
My name is Masrabaye.I am a member of the life skills-club of Concorde High School. What really stood out for me was the peer educator’s training camp in Siloam. There was complete mixing between young people from different schools, with no ethnic or religious discrimination. Muslims and Christians alike ate together in the same dish, regardless of sex. Personally I was surprised. I was surprised because in the old days, it was impossible to see a Muslim who is eating in the same dish with a Christian. Today, thanks to Blue Cross, I find myself in a better life with friends without distinction of race or religion. Since then, Christians and Muslims are all my own brothers, sisters and friends. I feel happy in this new life.
Motortaxi drivers in Ndjamena