2022 Annual Report | Full Edition



STORIES OF CHANGE From Setbacks to backpacks Latifa is back in class – and she’s taking charge.


Suggestion boxes that help children share honest feedback have been set up at schools in many countries, including Tanzania (pictured) and Burkina Faso.

For children forced to leave school because of conflict, displacement or poverty, rejoining the classroom is only the first step. The physical and emotional trauma they may have experienced affects their ability to learn. That’s why the Safer Schools in Burkina Faso project (FASST) prioritizes safe, inclusive learning environments. The 4.5-year, $16.1 million project is funded by Global Affairs Canada with matched funds from supporters. It began in December 2019 and ends in May 2024.

So far, we have set up 88 suggestion boxes in different schools in the area

After armed groups attacked Latifa’s home and her family lost their livestock, which they depended on for income, she stepped up to help her parents. Latifa, who’s one of five children, understood the financial stress her parents were now experiencing and accepted her father’s decision to take her out of school. But she never stopped longing for the day when she would be back in class. With financial assistance from the Safer Schools in Burkina Faso (FASST) project, she was able to return to her studies. Her mother is thrilled about her daughter’s achievements. “Some girls drop out because their parents think a girl’s place is to stay at home, learn to clean and get married,” says Samira. “I want to encourage parents to allow girls to stay in school and refuse to let them be married when they are young. I hope that the FASST project will be able to support many other young girls like my daughter.”

and we have received 2,216 suggestions from the students.” – Lompo, primary school principal

the situation

• In 2020, more than 857,000 children were out of school. • The secondary - school enrolment rate is only 29%. • The literacy rate for adults age 15 to 24 is only 58%.

Lompo is amazed by the improvements he has seen in his students’ morale and academic performance since the suggestion boxes were created. “This is the first time that students have been able to complain about the way they are treated in school,” he explains. “Pupils are increasingly trusting their teachers and actively participating in classes. My colleagues avoid using insults against children, and we have referred children for psychological care.” Lompo is grateful for the opportunity to make his school safe and supportive for students. “I personally thank Plan International and the FASST project for making it possible to correct some shortcomings at the school,” he says.

STORIES OF CHANGE Safety box Suggestion boxes ensure that students’ voices are heard.

What we’ve achieved so far

• 36,465 girls are enrolled in schools and accelerated- learning programs. The goal is to reach 63,000+ children by May 2024. • 26,000+ girls have benefited from the Nutritious School Feeding Program. • 877 girls from displaced families have received cash transfers so they can continue their education. • 405 godmothers mentor 2,102 adolescent girls. They are trusted leaders who are trained to provide psychosocial support and guidance on everything from menstruation to healthy relationships to the importance of education.

Schools should be safe places where children can learn and grow. Unfortunately, not all teachers understand this. “In the past, it was difficult for me to convince teachers that whipping, insulting or mocking students is not a solution for good learning,” says Lompo, the principal of a public primary school in the Est region of Burkina Faso. In many schools, there was no way for anyone to find out what was really happening to students behind closed classroom doors.

After consulting with students, the FASST team set up suggestion boxes in the schools so children could report instances of abuse and teachers could be held accountable for unacceptable behaviour. Complaints are dealt with based on their urgency. For example, if they are related to violence, they are immediately assigned to a FASST protection advisor while broader feedback is taken to school-management committees.

TRACKING IMPACT We provide supporters with regular Impact Reports that update them on the progress of the project. We share program activities, interventions and stories of change, like this one from Latifa. Click the cover image to read this report on the Safer Schools in Burkina Faso (FASST) project.

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2022 Annual Report | 27

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