Quality Education: ATD Burkina Faso’s Work Recognized

As part of our continuing work on the evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 10 members of ATD Fourth World Burkina Faso participated in an international conference in Ouagadougou entitled, “How to ensure quality education for all.” Hosted by Burkina’s Ministry of Education and two leading poverty research organizations, J-PAL and IAP [1], the conference was an important recognition of the experience and proposals of ATD Fourth World’s members in developing quality education strategies with people living in deep poverty for the benefit of all.

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ATD Fourth World members Mahamadou Koné and Sylvain Lestien (at right) presented videos showing our participatory action research on quality education for all.

Minister of Education Ms. Koumba Boly emphasized the importance of the participation of people living in the most extreme poverty in developing education programs. Economist Esther Duflo, Director of co-hosting organization J-PAL, introduced and concluded the conference whose focus was to highlight actions and programs “that work.” Director of J-PAL Europe, Helene Giacobino, who had participated in the 2013 seminar organized by ATD on the subject of education, insisted that ATD Fourth World participate in this conference, “to add your voice as only you know how… I wanted to share the videos from the 2013 seminar because they are very powerful. They show us how small things can become obstacles when one lives in extreme poverty, and push us to remind ourselves why and for whom we are here.”

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Long-time ATD activist Fatimata Kafando (at right) exchanges with J-PAL Europe Director Helene Giacobino on their shared commitment to education truly for everyone.

The video testimonials by ATD Fourth World members introduced the speakers for the day:

“School must support our values of solidarity.”

“If you don’t have any friends at school, you can’t learn.”

“My sister is so traumatized that she’s scared to go to school, because the teachers tell her she is incapable and won’t succeed. They always put her at the back of the class.”

“Many parents don’t know how to read. We should invite them to come to school and meet with teachers and children.”

“If we [parents] offered special courses for teachers about children facing difficulties, they could better support the children and give them more attention.”

In one of the videos, Ms. Fatimata Kafando explains, “In spite of my family’s extreme destitution, we would go to school with our bellies full of our parents’ courage.” Having been invited to the conference, she was relieved to discover participants did indeed listen to families in deep poverty: “I was scared that it wouldn’t be for me, but then I realized that I had my place there, and that I was a spokesperson for other families in extreme poverty. It’s important that decision-makers don’t just stay amongst themselves.”

In fact, all the conference speakers spontaneously referred to the videos during their presentations. Additionally, as part of a round table later in the day, ATD Fourth World members presented their 2-year participatory action research entitled, “People in extreme poverty, partners in education that is truly for everyone: what knowledge to use together to open the future for everyone.” The recent conference in Ouagadougou was an excellent opportunity to share the voice of those who experience extreme poverty and to show that they can and must be real partners with decision-makers in the field of education.

ATD Fourth World member Mr. Jean-Marie Dabika was delighted with the day: “Thanks to these videos, families in extreme poverty were present at this conference, and the whole of ATD Fourth World was honored.”

Related Link:
People in Poverty Are Partners in Education Truly for Everyone | Burkina Faso


Education and Training for All for the evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals:

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Ms. Fatimata Kafando’s video:

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[1] The conference, held July 10-11, 2014, was organized by the Ministry of Education of Burkina Faso, Jameel – Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and Innovations for Poverty Action (IAP).