Stories from the Field

A closer look at the issues confronting families, communities and development experts around the world. The section includes entries from Eastern and Southern Africa; West and Central Africa; South Asia; Middle East and North Africa; Central and Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States; Latin America and the Caribbean; and East Asia and the Pacific.

Kenya: Regional disparities threaten progress
towards education for all
LOKICHOGGIO, Kenya, 17 November 2005 – Far from the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Nairobi, children in this remote corner of Kenya spend their school days wondering if they will eat a single meal.
Jamaica: Gender-fair schools stem boys' anger KINGSTON, Jamaica, and NEW YORK, 7 November 2005 – School life for boys and girls at Children First in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, is very different from most other schools.
Nicaragua: New national education model counteracts gender discrimination, often linked to domestic violence LIMAY, ESTELI PROVINCE, Nicaragua, and NEW YORK, 18 October 2005 – Victoria Rayo primary school has undergone remarkable changes since it joined the country's Child-Friendly and Healthy Schools Initiative in 2003.
Nigeria: Launch of the home-grown school feeding programme ABUJA, Nigeria, 27 September 2005 - As the new school year starts in Nigeria , the Ministry of Education launched a major national programme, aimed at providing one meal per day to all pupils during schools days.
Pakistan: Enrolment campaign signs up 300,000 for school SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan – A major primary school enrolment drive has registered over 300,000 children for school in six weeks, according to early data on the campaign.
Pakistan: ‘Fair Play for Girls’ campaign uses cricket
to promote development
LAHORE, Pakistan, 23 September 2005 – On a cool, grey day in September, the voices of thousands of schoolgirls singing filled a packed sports stadium.
Southern Sudan: Changing the odds for girls YAMBIO, Southern Sudan – As schoolgirls here bend their heads over their books, they listen warily for the sounds of angry voices outside.

Making strides towards gender equality in the Punjab On a steamy day at the Shahpur Government Girls’ Primary School Sidra Yasmin rises before her classmates, a group of attentive six-year-olds, and confidently counts to one hundred.

Angola: After 30 years of civil war, school reconstruction helps build a bright future HUAMBO, Angola, 28 July 2005 – The foundations of peace are now firmly in place in this country, which had been ravaged by civil conflict.
For Cambodian girls, education is antidote to poverty
and sexual exploitation
Bung Preah Commune, Prey Veng Province, Cambodia, 3 June 2005 – Seng Srey Mach, 15, had to drop out of school for two years to work in the fields when her mother was ill and too weak to work.
Sudan: Community radios reach the unreachable KHARTOUM, Sudan, June 2005 – In a country where rural areas remain hard to reach, adult populations are often illiterate and the number of local dialects is said to exceed 500, communication can be a real challenge.
Djibouti: Parents’ determination keeps girls in school Ardo, Djibouti, June 2005 – While in many of Djibouti’s rural villages poverty, lack of educational facilities and cultural constraints prevent girls from going to school, in others these obstacles have only reinforced the community’s determination to do what is best for its children.
Djibouti: Girls in rural villages missing out on education DJIBOUTI, June 2005 – Aisha Mohamed Hassan may not know how old she is, but she knows how much she likes school. One of very few girls to go to school in the remote rural village of Koutabouye, this six- or seven-year-old is still in her first year and, if given a chance, would certainly like to finish her education.
Nigeria : UNICEF and partners create a model
child-friendly school
Model Primary School, New Owerri, Nigeria, is a bold testimony that initiatives to make schools child-friendly can succeed. Before 2000, it was just another neglected primary school, with buildings in various states of dilapidation and a school population not very different from those of schools in similar conditions.
Angola: Postwar reconstruction helps close
gender gap in education
MATETE, Angola, 15 June 2005 - Awakened by the sunrise, 15-year-old Branca rushes to the nearest water pump, almost a kilometre away from her family’s mud hut.
Villagers in Papua New Guinea pool resources to pay
unaffordable school fees
Kundiawa district, Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea, 25 May 2005 – Today is a special day at Gaglmambuno Primary School, located in a remote area of Papua New Guinea’s highlands.
Swaziland: A teacher returns home to confront barriers
to girls’ education
Sibili Nsibande was already a leader in her community through her work as a teacher at St. Annes high school in the Malkerns Valley, Swaziland.
Girls are equal to boys in Philippine schools. Or are they? Metro Manila, Philippines, 16 May 2005 – “In my class, it’s mostly boys who drop out,” said Vernelou Kidro, 16, during a recent theater rehearsal at a community center in Tondo, a Manila neighbourhood interweaved with warrens of shacks. “Often, they lack interest or are just too poor to afford school.”
The Gambia: Zeal of communities gets girls into school The young actor steps forward. “I will not budge,” he scorns his co-stars on the makeshift stage who are begging him to send his daughter to school. “My daughter will not go to school. There is no value in these western teachings. She will stay at home, do the cooking and find a husband.”
School feeding programmes encourage children to attend school There are 300 million chronically hungry children in the world. 100 million of them do not attend school. The majority are girls.

‘Scholarship Plus’ for Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa Mentors. Community involvement. Female role models. HIV/AIDS education. Those may not sound like parts of a typical scholarship program. But then, the African Girls Scholarship Program is not typical.
Egypt: Community mapping transforms youth Community Youth Mapping is a process – developed by the AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research – through which young people canvass local businesses and organizations and document where to find resources for children and families.
India: Project helps child labourers return to school DHARMAPURI DISTRICT, Tamil Nadu, India, 26 May 2005 – Their young hands should have held pencils and crayons. Instead, they touched deadly chemicals in matchbox factories, handled worms in silk farms, or were scalded by hot tea while serving customers in tea stalls.
South Sudan: New struggle for former rebels RUMBEK, South Sudan, 31 May 2005 – For six years, Reuben Meen fought on the front lines of Africa’s longest-running civil war. Today, he is a soldier in a different battle: the effort to bring both girls and boys into the classrooms of the ‘New Sudan.’
Senegal: School doors open for girls DAKAR, Senegal – It is early in the morning and not all the children have arrived yet, but the school yard at Ndiarème B primary school in the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal, is already bustling.
Uganda: Children map a brighter future for schoolgirls KAMPALA, 13 May 2005 – As the 2005 target for gender parity in primary and secondary education comes due, children across Uganda are busily charting their nation’s progress toward education for all.
Sierra Leone: Partners take community education
to children in rural areas
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 26 April 2005 – “Every child must have the opportunity to access education in Sierra Leone,” said Dr. Alpha T. Wurie, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, during the launch of the Community Movement for Education (CoME) Initiative at Rogbesse Community School in northern Sierra Leone.
Bhutan: School shortage forces pupils to leave home BHUTAN, 28 April 2005 - Chandra, 9, Tika, 8, and Lela, 7, are sisters attending Beteni Community School in the district of Tsirang in south-central Bhutan. Because their home is a 6-hour walk from the school, their father, a farmer, has built a small hut for them to live in during the week.
Pakistan: Setting new trends for girls’ education ISLAMABAD, 25 April 2005 — The students of Pitao Banda Primary Feeder School are among the trailblazers for girls’ primary education in the remote hamlets that are scattered throughout the foothills of the Hindu Kush, in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.
Madagascar: ‘Big sisters’ pledge to help peers ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 15 April 2005 – In Madagascar, UNICEF is advocating for girls’ education through an alliance with its most important partners: children.

India: Girls speak out for equal access to education NEW DELHI, India, 11 April 2005 – Girls in India are demanding greater, sustained support for equal access to a good education. At a workshop organised by UNICEF in the Indian capital New Delhi on 7 April a group of around fifty girls from seven Indian states came together to discuss and share their experiences of schooling.
Somalia: Communities unite around education MOGADISHU, Somalia, 7 April 2005 - In war-torn Somalia, where a devastating civil conflict has fractured families and ravaged national institutions, communities are finding common cause in the drive for education for all.