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Guinea: Newsline

UNICEF and partners support local community schools for Guinean girls and boys

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©UNICEF Guinea/2007
A young Guinean girl enjoys a learning environment that is supported by her whole community.

By Michèle Akan Badarou

CONAKRY, Guinea, 29 October 2007 – The people of Moribaya, 50 km from Conakry, have banded together to build a school for their children – one of the so-called ‘warehouse schools’ that provide elementary education to Guinean girls and boys, and are supported by UNICEF and the state government.

Local women in Moribaya have formed a cooperative to support the school. Each day they farm the land and sell the produce at market. They use part of the earnings to pay school fees for their children.

“We are doing this job, it is painful but we know nothing else to bring money home,” said one of the mothers, Fatoumata Conte.

Built by local residents

The ‘warehouse school’ is a social agreement established with the community and stating each party’s duties. The terms of the cooperation programme require that UNICEF provide equipment and supplies (including tables, books and school furniture) as well as teacher training and assistance to the community organizations that support the schools.

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© UNICEF Guinea/2007
UNICEF provides school and recreation supplies for community-supported ‘warehouse schools’ like the one in Moribaya, shown here.

For its part, the Ministry of Education appoints qualified teachers.

Built by local residents’ own hands, the schools reflect community determination and a common will to provide children with education.

Mass campaigns change attitudes

Despite remarkable growth in the Guinean education rates over the past decade, pre-elementary education remains poorly developed, especially for young girls. Meanwhile, girls’ net enrolment rate in primary school remains more than 10 percent lower than the rate for boys.

Mass campaigns have called for more commitment to universal quality education from political and administrative authorities and local representatives. And they have shown significant results in places like Moribaya – such as the creation of new classrooms in the warehouse schools, the recruitment of teachers, and a massive girls’ enrolment and retention drive in primary schools.

The people of Moribaya are reaping the benefits of their community spirit. They are already planning to build a more durable school than the one they have at present, so that their children’s education is not disrupted by the rainy season.


 

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Video
11 October 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on Guinean townships that are taking extra steps to make sure their children receive a quality education.

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