Duékoué: Healthier schools for children from Zemgbobly, Toa Zeo and Ouangolo
Late last week, ICI and Nestlé visited three schools in Duékoué, all far from the city, where buildings have been renovated for the 2019-2020 school year. Local children are delighted with the results: “Before, my class was not pretty, there was sand everywhere. Today, my class is beautiful and clean” explained fourth grader BINI Aka Kobénan, during the official handover of Toa Zeo School 1. The school in Toa Zeo has three classrooms and 316 students, 167 of whom are girls. The renovation was funded by Nestlé and implemented by ICI. “Building a school for a child is opening the door to success” said Mr. Koné Emmanuel of the local cooperative CAEG. It is also “a door that has just been closed to child labour in the fields”, according to Mr. Yayi Marcel, representative of Duékoué’s Primary Education Inspectorate. In nearby Ouangolo 2, keys to the newly renovated school had been handed the day before, on 21 November. The school now has seven classrooms, a kindergarten, a three-block latrine and a playground, as well as a canteen. “The construction of a school contributes to the fight against child labour in all its forms” said Mr. Fofana Mamadou, representative of the CANK cooperative in Ouangolo 2. He stressed, “everything is done to ensure that children learn in a healthy environment”.
Until recently, children in Zemgbobly had attended school in a depilated building covered with makeshift plastic to protect them from rain and midday heat. The community received the keys to its new school on World Children’s Day, the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Rights of the Child. “This jewel will allow children to be in better conditions for a quality education” stated Mr. Kouadio Stéphane, Inspector of Primary Education.
At the inauguration ceremonies in Zemgbobly, Ouangolo 2 and Tao Zeo, Mrs Yolande Kodjo, from ICI, who manages the project, reminded those in attendance the importance of schooling in the fight against child labour. She encouraged children and adults alike to take great care of the new facilities, “so that everyone can send their children to school in good conditions”. Special radio broadcasts were launched to coincide with the three handover ceremonies. Recorded with communities in cocoa-growing areas, the broadcasts drew attention to the the risks associated with child labour and the importance of education.