Burkina Faso: The advocacy efforts of the national coalition (CN-EPT/BF) are bearing fruit

In 2018, the National Coalition for Education for All (CN-EPT/BF) of Burkina Faso focussed its advocacy on the access, retention and performance of girls in schools and on the need for a significant allocation of resources to education. These issues were the focus of several meetings with the Education Committee of the National Assembly, the Ministry of National Education and Promotion of National Languages (MENAPLN) and the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Development.

Data collection and analysis, meetings with the authorities and technical and financial partners, awareness campaigns through the media, active participation in key meetings on education are some of the actions implemented by the CN-EPT/BF during 2018 to help improve the access of girls to education and to increase the education budget. The advocacy efforts with other stakeholders contributed to address some of the disparities in education between girls and boys. Thus, according to statistical data from the Ministry of National Education and Promotion of National Languages (MENAPLN), the gross primary school enrolment rate for girls increased from 89.0% in 2017 to 90.9% in 2018 at the national level (an increase of 1.9 %). During the same period, the primary school completion rate for girls increased from 64.3% to 67.6 (an increase of 3.3 %). Although the enrolment indicators demonstrate fewer disparities between girls and boys in primary education, the coalition pointed out that they do not take into account disparities between regions on one hand and between rural and urban areas on the other hand.

The coalition uses the data collected by the advocacy groups set up with the support of the Civil Society Education Fund (CSFE) to highlight the factors perpetuating gender inequality in education in Burkina Faso. These factors are generally socio-cultural (child marriage, division of labour based on gender, parental illiteracy, etc.), economic (household poverty, child labour, particularly in gold mining sites, the low impact of education outside of the school system), educational (damaging practices to girls, distance between education structures and parents’ homes, violence in schools, etc.) but also factors related to sexuality (lack of information on menstruation, poor management of sexuality issues, early and unwanted pregnancies, etc.).

There is a need for a substantial gender-sensitive budget allocation, an issue at the heart of the coalition’s advocacy activities in 2018. The analysis of the budget allocations of the ministry shows that the national education sector receives the largest share of the budget in 2019, with CFAF 431,812 billion compared to CFAF 422,005 billion in the initial 2018 budget. This budget represents 23.69% of the budget allocations in 2019 compared to 20.00% in 2018.

For the coalition CN-EPT/BF, the education of girls is one of the most effective means of development not only for girls themselves, but also for their families, their communities and society in general. It remains a crucial element in the right to quality inclusive education for all.

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