Project

Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

In developing countries, disability tends to be linked with poverty and hinders access to education. It is estimated that 90 per cent of children with disabilities (CwDs) are not schooled. According to UNICEF reporting being identified as disabled has a significant influence on the likelihood of education exclusion in West and Central Africa.

Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

Handicap International (HI) will focus on the most marginalised children excluded from primary education. The ‘Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education’ initiative will employ a two-pronged approach to project interventions aiming to help OOSC overcome the obstacles to their schooling. The project will: 1) establish multi-sector care for targeted children via strengthened links between stakeholders associated with school (health, education, social, community and parents) and 2) create ‘bridge’ mechanisms that offer an education adapted to children’s specific needs and support the children’s inclusion in mainstream schools. Moreover, the project will build the capacities of key MOE staff to design inclusive education systems, make the current schooling models more inclusive and advocate to keep the issue of OOSC at the top of the regional agenda, especially in relation to CwDs.

The project’s sustainability strategy comprises working through demand and supply-side dynamics. In that sense, the HI initiative seeks to stimulate demand for countries to achieve EFA targets and build their capacity to implement the appropriate policy changes at institutional levels. Regarding demand, HI will mobilise parents, civil society organisations and parent associations to promote inclusion of all children. As for supply, HI will work with multiple stakeholders to identify the most cost-effective means to achieve inclusion and engage in dialogue with communities and education authorities to find durable solutions. Furthermore, the sustainability and continuity of project interventions will rest on undertaking measures that develop the skills and capacity of NGO and institutional partners to conduct and coordinate inclusive educational actions.

* EAC would like to thank AFD for their generous co-financing contribution to this project.

Partners

Handicap International

In partnership with EAC, Handicap International aims to reach more than 28,000 out of school children (OOSC) of primary age with disabilities across ten sub-Saharan African countries.

Agence Française de Développement (co-Financing Partner)

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is the official development assistance coordinator for France’s bilateral aid. Its aim is to contribute to more sustainable and shared economic growth, improve living conditions in the poorest regions and countries of the world, help preserve the planet and stabilise fragile or post-conflict countries.

Countries

Benin

Benin

Benin, situated in West Africa and sharing borders with four other African countries and the Atlantic Ocean, occupies a land mass of approximately 113,000 square kilometres. Modern-day Benin was formerly the site of Dahomey, a prominent regional kingdom of its time. The French began making incursions along the kingdom’s coastal areas in the latter half of the 19th century, eventually conquering it by 1894. In 1958, the country became a self-governing member of the French Community and in 1960 it acceded to full independence. Today, Benin’s economy relies heavily on subsistence agriculture, cotton production and regional trade.
Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

A landlocked Sahelian/Saharan country in West Africa, Burkina Faso shares borders with six other African countries. The country ranks amongst the poorest in the world and in 2012 armed conflict and instability from neighbouring Mali brought about a humanitarian crisis and waves of refugees into Burkina Faso. In 2014, Burkina Faso captured the 181st position in the United Nations Human Development Index. That same year, the country’s head of state was ousted from the presidency in a popular uprising after having ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years.
Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau

Situated in West Africa and sharing borders with two other African countries, Guinea-Bissau was once administered as part of the Cape Verde Islands and known as the Slave Coast under the dominion of the Portuguese in the mid-15th Century. In 1879, Guinea-Bissau became a distinct colony within the Portuguese Empire. The country obtained independence in 1974 after a brutal guerrilla war with Portugal. Since independence Guinea-Bissau’s development has been impeded by political instability, conflict and insecurity, and corruption. Today, the country is one of the poorest in the world with an overhanging foreign debt obligation. Furthermore, Guinea-Bissau has become a transhipment point for Latin American drugs destined for Europe.
Liberia

Liberia

Liberia is situated on the West African littoral and shares borders with three other African nations and the Atlantic Ocean. The country was founded in the 1820s by the descendants of the Americo-Liberian population under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. Liberia, today, is a country of vast ethnic diversity, as it is home to roughly 18 distinct indigenous groups. Annual population growth is estimated to stand at about 2.5 per cent and the majority of Liberians are concentrated in urban areas. The country’s primary exports consist of iron ore, rubber, gold and timber.
Madagascar

Madagascar

Off the coast of southern Africa and in the Southwestern Indian Ocean, the island nation of Madagascar covers approximately 587,000 square kilometres of surface area and is organised into 22 administrative divisions. As of 2013 the country’s total population was estimated at 21.8 million. Demographically, Madagascar is a relatively young nation with 49 per cent of the population under the age of 15. According to the 2013 edition of the United Nations Human Development Index, Madagascar ranked 151 out of 187 countries. In 2002 and 2009, severe political crises aggravated the country’s economy, depressing stability, security and fuelling corruption. Since, the country has seen modest economic gains; however, in 2010 approximately 76.5 per cent of Malagasies still lived below the poverty line.
Mali

Mali

Situated in the heart of West Africa, Mali is a Sahelian country that shares borders with seven other African countries. Recent estimates indicate that if annual population growths continues unabated at 3.6 percent, Mali’s population under the age of 25 will double. As it happens, the country’s population is unevenly distributed throughout the national territory, as 77.5 percent of people live in disparate rural areas. Roughly 73 percent of people in rural areas and 63 percent of the population overall live in poverty. Compounding matters, an armed conflict and instability emanating from the North, have, since 2012, brought about a humanitarian crisis in the country and an influx of refugees into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Niger

Niger

Landlocked in West Africa, Niger is a Sahelian/Saharan country, sharing borders with seven other African countries. In comparison with some of its oil-rich neighbours, Niger is endowed with relatively scant natural resource wealth. Furthermore, the country is beset by an array of challenges related to desertification and the expansion of the Sahara, as well as cyclical droughts. In 2012, an armed conflict and instability from neighbouring Mali, precipitated a humanitarian crisis in and an influx of refugees into the country. As of 2014, Niger appeared at the 187th position in the United Nations Human Development Index. Demographic pressures (3.9 percent annual population growth) weigh on the country’s development prospects as well.
Senegal

Senegal

Located in West Africa, Senegal is a Sahelian/Saharan country, sharing borders with five other African nations and the Atlantic Ocean. Between 1988 and 2011, the country’s population nearly doubled and as of 2013 that figure stood at nearly 13.5 million. Approximately 50 per cent of Senegal’s people are under the age of 20 and 23 per cent of the people live in the country’s capital city, Dakar. Senegal’s youthful and rapid population growth exerts pressure on the education system in terms of enrolment, access to higher levels and the learning environments.
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sharing borders with three other countries and the West African littoral, Sierra Leone was, historically, a transit point in the Transatlantic slave trade for African captives. In 1787, British abolitionists and philanthropists established a settlement known as ‘Freetown’ for repatriated and rescued Africans, which eventually would become the nation’s capital. A brutal civil war beginning in 1991 and a series of military coups thereafter rattled Sierra Leone, as well as neighbouring countries, and did not permit the return of peace and stability until 2002. Since the war’s conclusion the country has made economic strides and the government has worked to suppress illicit trafficking in diamonds and minerals, which Sierra Leone has in abundance and fuelled the conflict.
Togo

Togo

Modern-day Togo, along the West African littoral, shares borders with three other countries. In the latter part of the 19th Century, ‘Togoland’ – as it was then known – was a German protectorate relying on forced labour to cultivate cotton, cocoa and coffee. Stewardship of the country was eventually handed to Great Britain and France in the wake of WWI. In 1960, Togo gained independence from France. Starting in 1967, the country was ruled by Gnassingbé Eyadéma until his demise and the succession of his son in 2005. Today, Togo is one of the world’s largest producers of phosphates and a transit point for poached ivory from the region.