More than half of Burkina Faso’s children do not go to school, and many of those who enroll do not finish their studies. Education is often expensive and some villages are far away from the nearest school. In addition, many children are required to work at home instead of attending school. Girls usually help with the housework while the boys shepherd livestock or produce crops with their fathers. Parents prefer to educate boys, as girls are often married at an early age.
Yet educating children is the best way to fight poverty -- and is the basis for sustainable human development.
Statistics prove that girls who can read and write go on to have healthier children and are better able to look after their own families.
As well as providing the infrastructure for children to go to school, Africa for Jesus Ministries is working with communities to advocate for change. Community leaders, parents and other family members need to understand the benefits of sending their children to school. In many cases, this requires a long-term vision, often sacrificing the benefits of today’s work on the land or in the home for a better tomorrow.
Threats to children's health
Burkina Faso’s infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Chronic malnutrition stunts children’s growth. Malaria, respiratory infections, malnutrition and diarrhoea are the leading causes of death. There is a shortage of trained medical staff and accessible health facilities.
More than 90 per cent of women have undergone female genital mutilation during childhood (also known as female circumcision – this involves the removal of some of a girl’s genitalia). As well as having physical and psychological consequences, female genital mutilation can lead to difficulties in childbirth and increased susceptibility to infection.