You used to do well in school, but lately you’re too afraid and anxious to concentrate. Because you are not protected at your school, you do not feel safe. Girls where you are from are often subjected to sexual violence or physical harm.
To make matters worse, you got your period and attending school regularly has become much more difficult. Like 80 percent of girls in Burkina Faso, you have no private facilities or supplies available to manage your menstruation discreetly while at school.
For many of us, the idea that our children should have to worry about sexual assault and discrimination at school is unthinkable. Parents should be able to trust that their children, male and female, are safe and can focus on their education in a safe environment.Unfortunately, in Burkina Faso, on average only 17.5 percent of girls advance from junior high to high school. Even if they can afford their school fees, gender violence and discrimination at school are so commonplace that girls often just drop out.
By supporting Plan International USA’s Promoting Equality and Safety in School (PEASS) project in Burkina Faso, you will help us work at the individual, community, and school levels to address deeply-ingrained beliefs and practices that determine how girls can and should be treated. With a focus on sensitization, peaceful negotiation, and conflict resolution, the PEASS curriculum emphasizes the importance of girls’ rights and gender equality, while helping everyone better recognize and report acts of school-related gender-based violence.
Building on the effectiveness of the PEASS project in Vietnam, where Plan reached nearly 40,000 children and 1,800 teachers and school staff members, the PEASS project in Burkina Faso will target two schools to serve as models for the entire West African region. Your support will be vital in helping change biased behaviors and attitudes that hold girls back and threaten their safety.
With your support of PEASS, these two schools in Burkina Faso can be evaluated and updated to better accommodate girls’ menstrual hygiene needs, provide safe spaces for them to hold leadership activities and girls’ clubs, and serve as an examples of how schools can be improved in Burkina Faso. Scholarships will also be offered to cover school fees and supplies, so girls can focus on their studies.
Together, we can create safer, more respectful learning environments by providing essential trainings for students, teachers, and staff. This will help identify and improve gender-biased behaviors, establish school codes of conduct, raise awareness in communities and among local officials, and enhance child protection strategies.
Every girl has the right to an education free from violence and the threat of violence. We can help teachers and school administrators in Burkina Faso eliminate the discrimination that prevents girls from finishing school and fulfilling their great potential. Together, we can make sure that parents, teachers, students, and officials know that violence has no place in schools, or anywhere in a child’s life.