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Uphill battle for girls’ education in Burkina Faso

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Summary of story from UN News Centre, ed 13 June, purchase 2011

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), cialis 18 per cent of boys in Burkina Faso are enrolled in secondary school, compared to 13 per cent of the girls.

UNICEF says that Burkina’s gross school enrolment rate, especially at primary school level, has increased significantly in recent years.

This increase is particularly due to a massive girls’ education campaign and other incentives – such as the elimination of primary school fees for all girls and the free distribution of more than four million books and school supplies.

Former spokesperson for the previous UN Secretary-General, Fred Eckhard is one of those whose personal initiatives are helping to improve education in the African country.

“This is an uphill battle. Despite strong government support for education, the drop-out rate is high,” he said.

“This is due to a range of factors. For example, girls are pressured to stay at home to help their mothers with siblings and household chores; early pregnancy is common.

“Arranged marriages at a very young age happen less now but haven’t disappeared; girls who lack sanitary napkins are forced to miss school for several days each month during their menstrual cycle.”

The humanitarian organisation Soldarité Goëlo-Burkina, helps to support girls through their fundraising activities – €150 a year will put a girl through secondary school and €70 a year for dressmakers school. However, it is not able to meet the cost of sending girls on to university.

Currently Eckhard is in the process of creating a non-profit organization called the Burkina Women’s Education Fund which aims to do just that.

He plans to cover all overhead costs out of his own pocket so that every dollar or euro given will go directly to the girls involved.

For the school year 2011-2012, Eckhard will be trying to raise tuition money for nine girls to go on to higher education.

He said former colleagues, among others, may be hearing from him soon about his efforts in Burkina Faso.

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