Fengarion - Mirelle Galoghiris Award

300 Shepherd kids in Burkina Faso go to school and learn a profession

by Enfants du Monde

In Burkina Faso, going to school or coming out of it equipped with life competencies is a challenge, especially for children living in rural areas. Daughters and sons of shepherds and farmers follow their family during the transhumance of the herd or need to help their parents work in the fields.

Consequently, in the province of Sanmatenga in Burkina Faso, the Fulani children account for only 1% of the class size, while the Fulani population is estimated at 17%. Most parents don’t send their children to school. The lack of a curriculum compatible with their specific lifestyle generates a very high rate of de-schooling and drop-outs. Girls are educationally even more disadvantaged than boys. They are married off early and go to live in their husband's family. Whilst they wait for the big day, they have to perform domestic tasks without being able to go to school. As a result, children do not acquire any knowledge and skills for their adult lives.

It is for these reasons that Enfants du Monde supports the School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess – a quality educational formula tailored to the needs of farming populations, set up by the Andal & Pinal association (A&P). The objective of this rural school is the acquisition and diffusion by the children of knowledge and skills necessary for everyday life. The School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess offers primary education over four years to Fulani children aged between 9 and 15, who have dropped out of or never been to school. Particular emphasis is placed on the education of girls. They represent at least 50% of the total number of pupils in the classes, which is not the case in the public system.

The lessons are free, but most importantly the school calendar and schedule of lessons are adapted to the particular lifestyle of these families. Students attend school from 9am to 14h, from December until May. As children are able to run their daily and seasonal tasks related to the care of the livestock or crops, their parents do not hesitate to send them to school.

The lessons in these schools follow the approach of the Pedagogy of Text (PoT), which involves bilingual education and strong connections between theory and practice. Hence the students learn Fulfulde (their mother tongue), French, maths and natural sciences, with particular emphasis on agriculture and husbandry techniques. Hygiene, nutrition and health are also taught. In this teaching/learning process, the children can transmit the knowledge acquired to other members of the community. For example, the inclusion of hygiene in their daily lives is an important change. In addition, to ensure the transmission of local knowledge to children, community resource people are regularly in charge of the practical workshops.

After the primary school curriculum is completed, young people can either join the public school, or start an apprenticeship or income generating activity through the support of the Andal & Pinal Association and their community.

The direct beneficiaries of this initiative are about 300 uneducated children aged between 9 and 15 (50% of whom are girls) of the Fulani ethnic group. Families and communities also benefit from the knowledge the students acquire in school, especially in the field of agriculture. In addition, 14 teachers are trained on the Pedagogy of the Text (PoT) educational approach, which allows them to improve the quality of their teaching.

The School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess was recognised by the Ministry of Education as an innovative teaching approach. This promotes diffusion of this formula and the introduction of the Pedagogy of Text (PoT) into public schools, which will eventually contribute to the improvement of the quality of education in the country.

Video of the project


Contribution from Enfants du Monde: CHF 78'750

Budget 2016 by Andal & Pinal: CHF 219'402

1 & 2. CHF 80812

  1. CHF 36373

  2. CHF 21292

  3. CHF 80925

Activities supported by the contribution from Enfants du Monde:

  1. Consolidation of the pedagogical approach of The School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess
  2. Extension of the project to a larger number of schools
  3. Monitoring and supporting graduates of The School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess so that they can join public secondary school or start an apprenticeship
  4. Improving recognition and institutionalisation of The School of the Shepherd and Shepherdess
  5. Good management of the Andal & Pinal association, efficient implementation of the project and good governance.
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OrganizationEnfants du Monde
PlaceSanmatenga, Burkina Faso
Period01 January 2017- 31 December 2017
MoreProfile on Fengarion



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