Field Stories 19 April 2016

The dynamic community of Petit Odienne serving the cause of children

Located in the southwest of Côte d’Ivoire in the area of Nawa and in the Sub-division of Oupoyo, Petit Odienné is a cocoa-growing community with 1,115 members. Before 2013, the year of project start, no initiative had been undertaken for the community’s children. Very few parents had enrolled their children in the school in the neighbouring village 2km away. So many children found themselves engaged in farm work, where they were subjected to hazardous tasks such as handling pesticides, the use of sharp tools and carrying heavy loads.

The situation has changed now. Through training and awareness supported by ICI, the community became aware of the need for a better protection of their children. This resulted in a higher commitment to the protection of children’s rights, with the creation of an informal school and the recruitment of a volunteer teacher. Subsequently, the community decided to build a permanent school. Unfortunately, at first the lack of financial resources didn’t allow the completion of this initiative. But, because of the dynamism and proactive approach of the community, ICI decided to support Petit Odienné. This allowed the completion and equipping of three classrooms, with an office and a block of three latrines. Galvanized by this support, the community built three teacher’s accomodations and started the construction of a school canteen which is already functional.

The combination of these efforts enabled the community of Petit Odienné to achieve an increase of enrollment of over 90%. In the course of three years, the number of children attending the village school increased from 83 to 158. In addition to improving school enrolment conditions, the implementation of the CPE Child Protection Committee and Community Service Group has reduced the number of children involved in performing hazardous tasks. Today, in Petit Odienné, children’s rights are better respected.

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