"Now we are comfortably seated, and we can easily take our lessons and our written tests."
- Maxim, a 4th Grade student from Matiacoali, Burkina Faso
Terrorist attacks and threats have caused many people in Burkina Faso to move to more secure places, generally to provincial and communal administrative centers. Schools in various urban centers in the Est and Nord regions that host displaced children lack the logistical capacity to accommodate additional students. These schools face multiple problems, such as overcrowded classrooms and inadequate infrastructure. These conditions make integrating displaced students very difficult, causing disruptions in their education and risking further destabilization of the area.
To help ensure both host and displaced students have a seamless continued education, and to reduce feelings of abandonment displaced populations might experience, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives’ (OTI) Burkina Faso Regional Program (BFRP) provided the Est region’s Regional Directorate of Non-Formal Primary and Preschool Education (DREPPNF) and the Nord region’s Provincial Directorate for Non-Formal Primary and Preschool Education (DPEPPNF) in Loroum province with basic school equipment necessary for accommodating at least 5,000 displaced children, including 2,300 girls. 30 schools in Fada, Gayéri, Matiacoali, Namounou, and Kantchari, and 20 schools in Titao in the Nord received assistance, which consisted of over 4,600 pieces of furniture, including student and teacher desks, chairs, and benches.
"Without this support, many children would be left out and they could fall into delinquency or join terrorist groups, which would increase the instability of the area," said a parent in Titao who is grateful for support that enables continued education for many students across the regions.
Fourth grade student Maxim and his parents fled insecurity in Boulmoangou and moved to Matiacoali, located 15 kilometers away. Maxim was accepted into School A in Matiacoali, but faced challenging learning conditions due to the lack of seats in classrooms.
"We were sitting on the floor or by four or even five on the benches. We had many difficulties copying the lessons but now we are comfortably seated, and we can easily copy our lessons and take our written tests", said Maxim.
Community involvement was prioritized to ensure sustainable equipment management and to increase understanding of the local security context. Members of the management committee and Parent Associations benefited from training on countering violent extremism and basic furniture maintenance, which strengthened the communities' capacity to maintain and repair the school equipment. In addition, participants received repair kits, including saws, hammers, screwdrivers, and other tools to assist with repairs.
"We are thankful because this equipment will be used not only for our current students, but also for academic years to come," said Ouali, a community member in Fada N’Gourma.