Submitted by: Barbara Schuler, Head of Humanitarian Aid - Swiss Cooperation Office, Bamako Mali
Introduction to the project
2012 - 2019
Students from insecure locations, where schools are no longer functioning, are relocated to an (peri-) urban setting. They participate in two-month catch-up classes and then are able to participate in the official state exams. This ensures that IDP and refugee children and youth who live in insecure areas in the center and north of Mali do not drop out of school. Refugee children alike have access to this innovative service offered by the state with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Main activities of the Good Practice
- Relocating children and youth who would normally pass the specific state exam in a given year and who live in areas where schools are no longer functioning;
- Organizing catch-up classes (2 months) before taken the specific exam to ensure students are up to level;
- Organizing the actual state exam in question
- Ministry of Education
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Challenges and how they were overcome
Some of the major challenges in implementing the good practice has been to get the buy in and the trust from the parents. Most of them having been through dramatic experiences are hesitant to let their children travel to the urban areas. However, given the longstanding relationship between SDC and the communities, parents are able and build up trust. Examples from previous years are then a source of confidence for other families.
Another challenge has been to get support from other donors. The state is now keen to replicate this practice but will need more financial and logistical support from donors to be able and put into practice, especially as insecurity is growing.
Results of the Good Practice
This good practice has an important impact in ensuring displaced and crisis-affected students do not drop out of school at critical times in their school career (such as just before the baccalaureate). It ensures students, who have been able and attend school before the displacement and/or crisis, are able to pass the specific exam even if they live in a place where schools are closed. It therefore keeps displaced and crisis-affected children at school and has an overall positive impact on the community.