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Success rates in BRIGHT schools soar

Eight-year-old Kadidiatou (right) and her mother both benefit from the BRIGHT program. Kadidiatou is learning in a girl-friendly environment, and Kadidiatou's mom (a widow) is free to focus on earning a livelihood for her family.
Eight-year-old Kadidiatou (right) and her mother both benefit from the BRIGHT program. Kadidiatou is learning in a girl-friendly environment, and Kadidiatou's mom (a widow) is free to focus on earning a livelihood for her family.
Mrs. Alimata Ouattara-Sawadogo is a first grade teacher at the BRIGHT school Kadidiatou attends. The school is so popular that she has 75 students in her class, 42 of whom are girls and 33 are boys.
Mrs. Alimata Ouattara-Sawadogo is a first grade teacher at the BRIGHT school Kadidiatou attends. The school is so popular that she has 75 students in her class, 42 of whom are girls and 33 are boys.
January 31, 2008

The school that eight-year-old Kadidiatou attends in Burkina Faso is no ordinary school.

Kadidiatou goes to a BRIGHT school — one of 132 girl-friendly schools in Burkina Faso that is part of an innovative school program funded by a grant from the USAID-Millennium Challenge Corporation and led by Plan called BRIGHT — Burkinabé Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed.

The main goal of the project is to increase girls’ school enrollment and graduation rates through the creation of conducive learning environments in 132 communities in 10 provinces.

Each BRIGHT school, like the one Kadidiatou attends, is comprised of three child-friendly classrooms equipped with appropriate furniture and textbooks, a borehole to provide clean water, separate male and female latrine blocks for sanitation, and housing units for three teachers. Additional components of the project include a midday meal for the children and a take-home ration for girls with over a 90 percent attendance rate. Some of the schools also have an on-site bisongo — the Burkinabé word for child-care center — that allows mothers to leave their youngest children under safe supervision while they work in the fields.

Exceeding expectations!

In many communities, school enrollment rates already exceed original estimates that predicted 50 students per class, with a 50/50 ratio of boys and girls. Attendance rates have skyrocketed too!

Mrs. Alimata Ouattara-Sawadogo, a first grade teacher at the BRIGHT school Kadidiatou attends, has 75 students in her class, 42 of whom are girls and 33 are boys. Her school, like the other BRIGHT schools, is a source of pride for all community members, especially the young girls, who feel empowered and appreciate the opportunity to get an education.

Kadidiatou’s mother, Mrs. Hadissa, is a farmer and a widow with four children, all in school. She says that “having a school right here has a lot of advantages because children can be enrolled at the age of six. Before BRIGHT, it was difficult to send the little ones afar to attend school. The child had to be seven to be sent to school. BRIGHT schools give children incentives to attend school through the provision of school canteens and especially the dry ration which is beneficial to the household.”

Kadidiatou, meanwhile, says she loves the school because they learn to read and write and “learn a lot of things”. She has already determined that she wants to “become a teacher” when she grows older.

Room for growth

Community ownership is one of the major reasons for successful implementation of the BRIGHT Project. Parents working along with the local government supported the educational initiative and recognized its importance. They have a vested interest in the project’s success.

The project has been successful. So successful, that many of the original BRIGHT schools need additional classrooms to accommodate the local children, especially all the girls, whose parents now recognize the importance of education.

Donate now to support Education for All!Donate today to help provide children, their families and communities with the infrastructure, training, tools, services and support they need for a better education.

Learn more about Plan's work, including the BRIGHT program, in Burkina Faso.

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