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Nafa schools mean a second chance for Guinean girls

©UNICEF video
Guinean girls listen to their teacher at the Nafa centre in Dubreka. Girls are given a basic education, as well as the skills to start their own businesses.

One in four Guinean children does not enjoy his right to education and more than the half are girls. The Nafa centres help to promote education for all.

CONAKRY, Guinea, 11 October 2007—On this afternoon, about thirteen girls aged from 10 to 24 years old join in the Nafa centre. They carefully listen to their teacher’s description on how to set up a personal project, whether it be a workshop or a cooperative.

The Nafa centre learners share common ground. They left school at an early age or never attend classes during their childhood for a number of reasons, of economic or socio-cultural.

Until recently a lot of parents considered school was just for boys. Girls were kept at home to care for younger family members and help with domestic work. In rural areas, girls’ education was considered not worth the investment.

© UNICEF video
Guinean girls who lack a formal education are taught the basics at Nafa centres.

Attitudes slowly changing
This mentality has evolved slowly because of public awareness campaigns on children rights, gender parity, and the benefits of education to the whole community.

“It only takes three years here against six in the traditional system to study the instrumental pedagogy principles, reading, writing and coding. At the end of the primary school here, the children can sit for a classic secondary school exam,” said head teacher Salimatou Bah.

In addition to learning basic skills, Nafa is encouraging some girls to dream big.

“If I am asked where I want to go, I will say up to a Ph.D. or the teaching profession; in a word, finish all my studies,” said Aminata Bountourabi Soumah.

UNICEF providing support
UNICEF is supporting the Nafa centres by providing equipment and assistance to improve the working environment. UNICEF works in a consulting capacity with the Ministry of Education, developing guidelines for Nafa centres so that they will continue to provide girls with the knowledge and skills to make the best of their lives.



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11 October 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the Nafa centres that are giving Guinean girls a second chance at education.

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