Education Cannot Wait and Partners Launch Multi-year Education Programme to Deliver Education to Over 800,000 Children Affected by Crises in Burkina Faso

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ECW invests initial US$11.1 million to roll out the 3-year US$59 million programme

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Together with the Government of Burkina Faso, UNICEF and Enfants du Monde, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – the global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – launched today a new multi-year programme that aims to provide education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected regions of the country.

The new programme benefits from an initial three-year $11.1 million allocation in seed funding from ECW to be implemented by UNICEF ($6.1 million) and Enfants du Monde ($5 million) in collaboration with UN and civil society partners. It aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully funded and reach all targeted children and youth. Programme interventions are aligned to Burkina Faso’s National Education in Emergencies Strategy and to the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan.

“In Burkina Faso, the education sector is suffering the negative effects of both the ongoing security and COVID-19 crises. The security crisis resulted in the closure of more than 2,300 schools and a massive displacement of more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic further resulted in the closure of all schools in Burkina Faso for several months. I therefore take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Education Cannot Wait for their unwavering support in our efforts to support education in emergencies,” said H.E. Mr. Stanislas Ouaro, Minister of National Education and Literacy for Burkina-Faso.

Speaking at the launch in Ouagadougou, ECW Director Yasmine Sherif commended the leadership of the Government and education partners in Burkina Faso in designing a programme addressing the specific challenges of crisis-affected girls and boys in accessing quality education in communities affected by the violence and insecurity, forced displacement, food insecurity and natural and man-made disasters (epidemics, drought, floods).

“The crisis in Burkina Faso and in the whole Central Sahel is among the fastest deteriorating in the world. We can either watch and do nothing, or we can actually act now by investing in children and adolescents to empower them to achieve their full potential and become positive change agents for their communities,” said Yasmine Sherif. “At Education Cannot Wait, we believe in the true transformative power of quality education. With the launch of this new programme, we appeal to additional donors to join us to ensure no girls and boys are left behind in Burkina Faso.”

Ms. Sherif stressed the holistic approach of the planned interventions to meet the full range of needs of vulnerable children and youth, including mental health, psychosocial and nutrition support, as well as the focus on girls’ education and the promotion of safe and protective learning environments in line with the Safe School Declaration. “We cannot have children going to school and not knowing if they will come out alive. The Safe School Declaration and International Law have to be respected,” said Sherif.

ECW’s multi-year funding targets 60 per cent girls, and focuses on the most vulnerable, including both forcibly displaced and host community children, as well as children with disabilities. The programme ensures continuity from early childhood education (25 per cent of the total children targeted), to primary (43 per cent) and secondary (33 per cent).

In recent years, violence and insecurity have forced 1,000,000 people to flee their homes in Burkina Faso. Due to growing insecurity and violent attacks against education, teachers and students, school closures doubled between 2017 and 2019, disrupting education for more than 400,000 children. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further exacerbated the acute vulnerabilities of girls and boys already caught in crisis.

Nationwide, a quarter of girls and boys aged 6-11 are out of school, two-thirds of whom come from six of the highest risk regions: Boucle de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel. The new multi-year programme focuses on these six regions, where the primary completion rate is just 29 per cent, or less than half of what it is at the national level; and where 56 per cent of girls and boys, particularly adolescents, are out of school. Being out of school exposes these girls, boys, and adolescents to a plethora of risks including recruitment into armed groups, forced marriage and pregnancy, and engagement in harmful child labour work practices.

“We are confident that this partnership will improve the access to education for vulnerable children severely impacted by the crisis and prevent learning loss, the risk of drop-out and exposure to risks of child labor and forced marriage” said Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso. “We know that investing in education is critical to give girls and boys the opportunity to realize their full potential and to become active and productive citizens of the future. Therefore, we must act now, and accelerate our actions to protect education financing and to fast track the access to safe schools and reintegrate all children out-of-school, especially the most marginalized girls and children with disabilities”

“Enfants du Monde is pleased to have been selected as one of the grantees of ECW’s seed funding allocation to the Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Burkina Faso. We are committed to working with partners from the national NGO consortium, the Education Ministry through the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergencies and its other technical services as well as with the Education Cluster to meet the programme objectives in support of the National Strategy for Education in Emergencies,” said Tougma Téné Sankara, Regional Coordinator Sahel,  Enfants du Monde.

The announcement of the multi-year seed funding brings the total of ECW investments in Burkina Faso to over $21 million since mid-2019. ECW has also announced new investments to roll out similar multi-year resilience programmes to respond to pressing education needs in the neighbouring countries of Mali and Niger, which are also affected by crises in the Central Sahel.

Key facts and figures:

  • The full cost of the 2021-2023 Multi-Year Resilience Programme for Burkina Faso is US$59.1 million. With a generous $11.1 million seed funding allocation from Education Cannot Wait, the programme aims to mobilize an additional $48 million from public and private donors to be fully implemented.
  • The Multi-Year Resilience Programme targets 813,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, in six priority regions – Boucles de Mouhoun, Centre-East, Centre-North, East, North and Sahel.
  • ECW’s seed funding will directly target 144,000 (21% of the total) learners in three of the six priority regions with a comprehensive package of interventions. This includes those exposed to major health and/or security challenges, of whom 87,000 (60%) are girls and adolescent girls and 14,000 (10%) are children and adolescents with disabilities. An additional 9,000 girls and boys, including adolescents, will benefit from non-formal education opportunities.

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