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June 6, 2024

Exchange visit to Burkina Faso

Last year, in May 2023, a PARTAGE follow-up mission to Burkina Faso gave our two partners in the field, Dispensaire Trottoir based in Bobo-Dioulasso and KEOOGO in Ouagadougou, the opportunity to meet and discuss their activities with vulnerable children. A number of promising avenues for sharing experiences were explored. These included a visit by the Dispensaire Trottoir delegation to the KEOOGO nursery school, which gave the two associations the impetus to deepen their exchanges. The two organisations share many of the same issues: caring for a fragile and very vulnerable population, including internally displaced children, adapting teaching materials to the children’s needs, mastering the teaching skills expected of staff (monitors and assistant monitors), classroom management, etc.

At a second meeting, which took place from 5 to 10 May 2024, a delegation from KEOOGO, made up mainly of monitors and the educational manager, travelled to Bobo-Dioulasso to observe the pre-school class practices of the Dispensaire Trottoir, which has many years’ experience in pre-school education. This was an opportunity for Safiatou, Awa and Natacha to immerse themselves in the reality of the classes run by Agathe and her colleagues. Accompanied by their respective managers, the monitors, who worked in pairs throughout the mission, had great fun exchanging ‘tips and tricks’.

The KEOOGO teams were also able to share some of their practices, as Safiatou Congo, supervisor of the nursery school, explains: “We were able to present to the Dispensaire Trottoir how we mobilise several partners to finance the nursery school, as well as our agro-ecological garden, which produces fruit and vegetables for the children’s snacks. At KEOOGO, young mothers whose grandchildren attend the nursery school make school uniforms, games and toys from local materials. All these practices have been inspiring for the Dispensaire Trottoir. It’s a real exchange.

Among the main lessons learned from this visit, the partners identified : the importance for the monitors to be accompanied by assistant monitors (equivalent to the ATSEM in France), especially for the small section classes when the number of children is very high (KEOOGO has 111 children divided into three classes); the need to strengthen the monitors’ skills in “curricula” (the content of the school programmes which have recently changed in Burkina); the need to forge close links with the supervisory authorities (Basic Education District/Preschool Section) to which they report.

The Dispensaire Trottoir team also learned a great deal from the visit. Djénéba Konaté, director of Dispensaire Trottoir, says: ‘Hosting the KEOOGO delegation was a necessity, as it allows us to share what we know how to do. Each organisation benefits from the experience of the other. At DT, the visit enabled us to take a step back from our professional practices, and it greatly enhanced the skills of our team, which is very important. And for PARTAGE, which also supports us, this kind of event is a very good way of disseminating good practice to other partners.

For the KEOOGO team, this meeting has already led to concrete actions: contact with the supervisory authorities to benefit from training on the new curricula and thus become better known and recognised, reflection on the possibility of obtaining assistant teachers for the next school year and analysis of the documents shared by the Dispensaire Trottoir for appropriation before the start of the school year in October 2024 (activity sheets, pupil monitoring report card, tool for monitoring educational outings).

These are all promising avenues that our partners in Burkina Faso will be keen to pursue. Other subjects are already being considered and may lead to a joint project! All the stakeholders involved in these exchanges (Dispensaire Trottoir, KEOOGO and PARTAGE) will be combining their efforts to ensure that this fantastic peer-reinforcement project comes to fruition!