They Deserve No Less in Central Sahel

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They Deserve No Less in Central Sahel

“I am so happy. This is my success!” says 13-year old Cynthia, beaming proudly as she shows her Primary School Certificate with an average mark of 120 out of 150. Thanks to the Radio Education Programme, she will now graduate on to Grade 6! Cynthia’s sense of pride, joy, and achievement can only be fully understood when placed in the context of her circumstances. Cynthia is an internally displaced girl, living in Burkina Faso in Central Sahel. 

According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, insecurity and direct attacks on school infrastructure and staff had already forced some 4,000 schools in the Central Sahel to close in early 2020. The impact of COVID-19 further exacerbated this situation, resulting in an estimated 13 million children now out of school across Burkina-Faso, Mali, and Niger. The violence of armed conflict first forced Cynthia and her family to flee for their lives, quickly followed by the pandemic. 

The result? Cynthia - a young girl already burdened by extreme poverty and gender-inequality - was forced out of school. Yet, she held onto her dreams, had the opportunity to participate in the Radio Education Programme, and now she looks forward to continuing to learn in Grade 6. Cynthia is an inspiration, and her sense of success is a testament to the transformative power of delivering education with speed and quality in emergencies and protracted crises.  

Empowering Cynthia to surmount the obstacles placed around her was only made possible because donor funds were readily and rapidly disbursed to UN agencies and civil society organizations working with the Ministry of Education. Through pooled investments from Education Cannot Wait, the Ministry of National Education and UNICEF rolled out continuity of learning of 65,000 children by April 2020, with a focus on girls, affected by both armed conflict and COVID-19. Cynthia was one of them.

To read the full story on Exposure THEY DESERVE NO LESS IN CENTRAL SAHEL by Education Cannot Wait - Education Cannot Wait (

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Yasmine Sherif Portrait
Yasmine Sherif

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