International Womens' Day and literacy training

Today, on March 8th 2011, I have just returned from Fara, where I visited 6 literacy teaching centres of the fulfulde language. The centres opened in December last year with the co-operation of the Union of cattle herders of the Fara district. Today I just wish to compliment the women who have taken part in the initial fulfulde literacy course.

Ces quelques femmes découvrent leur premier livre de lecture !Remarquez combien cette femme s'applique à la lecture de son nouveau livre ! Women discovering their first book Woman intent at reading her new book When I went to see the union officials in October last year, I found myself facing a group of ten men (not one woman was present), asking me if I could help them start 6 literacy centres for their language, the fulfulde.

We had quite a long discussion, to get to know one another. In the end I told them: " I am prepared to help you and train teachers, provided there is a strong participation of women". They assured me that a large number of women would register.

Depuis bientôt 3 mois, cette jeune maman vient découvrir la lecture, l'écriture... avec son enfant sur les genouxFor 3 months this young mother came to learn reading and writing - with a baby on her lap Indeed, as the centres started their work, in December last year there were 117 women out of a total of 163 participants registered! At the time of the course evaluation at the beginning of March, 106 women were taking part. (A few had been taken ill or were travelling).

Malgré son âge, cette femme n'a pas craint de s'asseoir au milieu des plus jeunes !In spite of her age, this woman had no hesitation in sitting down among the younger As I toured all the 6 centres I was impressed everywhere by the women's quest for learning, their courage and determination. A great number of them came to the course with their babies, whom they had to breast-feed every now and then to keep them from crying desperately.

During this month of March the evaluation of the centres has just been completed. I went to meet the participants, who in less than 3 months have learnt the basic reading, writing and math skills. And in particular I went to bring them books in fulfulde, to encourage them to read at least a few minutes every day until the beginning of the next course, which is designed to consolidate what they have learnt this year and lead them on towards full proficiency in reading and writing.

Difficile de se concentrer quand il faut régulièrement satisfaire son enfant !Difficult to concentrate when having to keep your baby happy continuously These pictures do, I believe, give a good idea of the interest women have shown for their training course, their efforts (in particular those who have had to keep their babies on their lap in class) and then their joy as they start reading, even if they are still far from doing it with ease!

Cette jeune femme pourra bientôt envoyer des SMS en fulfulde !"The International Day of Women's Rights", in particular in Burkina Faso, where large numbers of women still are waiting for an opportunity to learn to read and write.

Koudougou, March 8th, 2011
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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