Inspiring a community from despair to self-sufficiency
In 15 years, CCFC has helped create a sustainable environment for citizens of Koupéla, Burkina Faso
By Patrice Zongo | CCFC communications manager, Burkina Faso
Most teens dream of graduating from high school when they’re 18 or younger, but Reine (pictured) had her mind set on another graduation this year. Last year marked Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) graduation from Koupéla, Burkina Faso, a community where Reine grew up with eight siblings.
It’s been a long journey. “Life was not easy for us; my family faced problems and had no farm to [cultivate],” she says, recalling how her father’s income was not adequate enough for her family of 11. School was another issue, supplies were needed; teachers, students and parents were frustrated. That’s when CCFC and its local partners stepped in to help.
“The school supplies we used to receive were composed of basic, but very important, material,” says Reine, explaining how supplementary supplies CCFC provided to teachers enabled them to educate effectively. With all these tools, many students who never expected to complete primary school could graduate to secondary school and further.
Beyond standard education, Reine and her peers were empowered to stand up for their rights. In 2014, youth developed the children’s Free Charters, influencing the inception of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which have put the need to protect children from harm on the global agenda. Locally, the young minds helped prove the value of vocational training to the new government, which is working on integrating it into standardized education.
That was all after another change that visitors to the local school may not even recognize. The transformation happened years ago, but Reine and her classmates still remember how their community struggled with water and sanitation. “CCFC built boreholes that provide water for us. Many households benefited from family latrines and public latrines,” she explains. In fact, 100 households were given access to toilets, reducing open-air defecation, which increases vulnerability to attack.
Before CCFC engaged with Koupéla, parents struggled to afford school entrance fees and other related costs, which meant many children could not complete school. Reine was lucky. She had a Canadian donor who sponsored her so she could finish primary school. Now she’s in high school preparing for a bright future.
After approximately 15 years, the community is managing its own change based on skills learned through CCFC. The future is full of possibility.
What was accomplished?
The community of Koupéla has been transformed since Christian Children’s Fund of Canada first engaged with members of the rural village approximately 15 years ago. Here’s a sampling of what collaboration has brought:
- 85 percent of adolescents who dropped out of school were enrolled in vocational training
- 1,780 children were provided with school kits in the past three years
- 2,000 children and adults were trained in child protection and child rights
- 3,000 children and adults were trained to plant trees to preserve the environment
- 1,240 community members were given access to safe, clean water and family latrines
About Christian Children's Fund of Canada:
Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has almost 50,000 children sponsored, benefiting nearly 400,000 people around the world.