Food supplies to support the education of children
In Cote d'Ivoire, the rate of primary school attendance is 60% and only 55% of people aged between 15 and 24 know how to read and write. These alarming statistics, provided by the National Institute of Statistics, come in contrast to the country’s level of development. In the areas of Yopougon and Abobo, found in the city of Abidjan, 2,700 people affected by the post-electoral crisis and living in precarious situations now benefit from food support.
The fragile area of Abobo Plaque is bustling. 30 vulnerable families affected by the post-electoral crisis have been identified as being entitled to benefit from food and health support. Last night, the heads of these households were given coupons and asked to present themselves this morning with their coupons in order to claim the food support in question. This explains the unusual atmosphere that prevails on the shop floor of Mr. Traore, the shopkeeper of the area.
Fatou is the matriarch of a family of 10, among whom are the orphaned children of her brothers, killed during the conflict. The majority of the children in her family have not attended school this year, or had to leave school this year as a result of restricted financial means. With emotion in her voice, she spoke of the situation saying, "Can a hungry child go to school? And why spend money on going to school and allow your children to die of hunger? The small amount of money that we earn is spent on feeding the family…" After checks have been made, she can receive supplies such as: rice, oil, powdered milk, eggs and soap etc. "As of this afternoon my children and I will be able to eat well for at least a month. I’m really happy!"
ACTED has put in place a schooling support system for the children of struggling families living in the wake of the post-electoral crisis. This support system distributes food supplies as well as non-food items and works in partnership with the Japanese Cooperation Agency (JICA). In these areas (Yopougon and Abobo), more than 2 out of 3 households were unable to meet their families’ essential needs and had developed dangerous survival strategies, such as keeping their children from school.
Food is the top priority
In this fragile context, schooling for children is considered a luxury as in many households available financial resources are allocated primarily to providing food for the family. As a result, many children are denied their right to education and are sometimes even forced to work in dangerous situations in order to help provide for their families. A study carried out in November 2011 by the ACTED teams revealed that out of 3,732 households in these same areas of Yopougon and Abobo, 47% had not sent their children to school as a result of their precarious financial situation. As well as now providing this schooling support sytem, ACTED is also working towards the restoration of schools, boosting income generating activities and distributing school kits before the new school term begins.
The new school term looms
One month later, the Plaque schools 3 and 4, restored by the project are inaugurated in the presence of representatives from the Town Hall of Abobo, the National Education Department, the Comittee of Management and the Director of Insitutions. In the presence of the local population, among whom the beneficiaries of the project can be found, beaming with pride for their new school, the Assistant to the Mayor of Abodo concludes: "It is time to take the situation in hand and continue the participative approach that ACTED has introduced to us!"