The children of Krotta Kouassikro receive the keys to their new school
Classrooms built of wood and covered with a mixture of wood and straw, exposed the children to the sun, wind and rain. Classrooms without doors that the children shared, at times, with the village’s domestic animals. Until 14 April, this was a typical scene at Krotta Kouassikro’s school. Since then, this cocoa-growing community, in the Gôh region of Côte d’Ivoire, has a brand-new school. The Ecole primaire publique (EPP) Galébré Krotta Kouassikro was recently inaugurated in the community. It has three classrooms, a director’s office and a block of three latrines.
The school was officially handed over to the community, to the delight of children and parents, as Kouame Amenan Martine, guardian and aunt of Koffi Aya Rebecca, a 16-year-old pupil, explained: “It is a great relief, because the children’s school clothes were getting wet and needed to be renewed.”
This action, carried out by the International Cocoa Initiative, with funding from the United States Department of Labor (USDoL), within the framework of the Eliminating Child Labour In Cocoa (ECLIC) project, was the subject of an official handover ceremony which brought together the administrative, educational and customary authorities of the district.
“An unforgettable day”, said the representative of the community of Krotta-Kouassikro, Ziké Samuel, before declaring that “the sub-prefecture of Galébré in the development of education is making great strides”.
Education is important to ICI, according to Mr. Brou Allatin, Deputy Country Director of Côte d’Ivoire. “School is the future of our children in our country,” he said at the event. That is why, he continued, three schools were also built in the region under the same programme. Namely, a classroom, a director’s office and the completion of two classrooms equipped with tables at Sakua, three classrooms with a director’s office, a block of three latrines, and a donation of a trunk of books (novels and comics) respectively, in Kocoumbo Yaokro and Ayaoukro (Oumé).
Seizing this opportunity, the prefect of the region, Fofana Lassina, invited the community to “follow up on the children’s daily progress”, with a view to them achieving good school results. Continuing, he expressed his gratitude to ICI for the actions carried out in the framework of the elimination of child labour in Côte d’Ivoire. He assured the local administration of its readiness to carry out its mission. “When a school is built for the people, if the people give it importance, you will see that the children will come to school. Take steps to ensure that the school always shines and that the beneficiaries make good use of it,” he said.
On behalf of his friends and classmates, N’dri Yao Eric Othniel, a 12-year-old student at the school, thanked ICI and its partner “for the construction of our beautiful school”, because of which the students will now say “goodbye to the rain, wind and sun that used to tire us during our school hours”.
The Eliminating Child Labour in Cocoa Production (ECLIC) project intervened in fifty cocoa-producing communities in Côte d’Ivoire in the regions of Nawa, Gboklê, Lôh-Djiboua, Gôh, Guemon and San Pedro.
The project aimed to provide direct support to 5,450 vulnerable children engaged in or at high risk of child labour by offering them formal and non-formal educational opportunities and providing livelihood services to 1,500 vulnerable households through the establishment of income-generating activities.