The radio education program: kids in the Pama commune rediscover their passion for learning.

Madina, an internally displaced person, was born and raised in a hamlet in Eastern Burkina Faso. She left everything behind when armed men broke into her town three years ago, forcing her and her family to seek safety in the neighboring city of Pama. Back in her hometown, Madina went to school every day. She was abruptly thrown out of school and was only able to find comfort in the radio education program that the commune where she was relocated had set up.UNICEF established the Education Radio Program (PER) to guarantee that children escaping war have continuous access to education in order to overcome this education crisis. In fact, PER is an emergency solution designed to educate the most marginalized kids in the most difficult-to-reach locations. In order to guarantee basic reading and numeracy, the program consists of broadcasting classes in both French and the regional tongues of Tamachek, Sonrai, Fulfulde, Koronfe, Moore, Gourumachema, and Dioula for youngsters aged 10 to 17.

The kids are welcomed into 40-person listening groups with a facilitator, or they can receive help at home from their families, the 1,000 community relays, or both. There are also broadcast sessions on protection, hygiene, sanitation, and life skills.Under the ECHO’s assistance, UNICEF is operating in five communities in the Eastern area of Burkina Faso—Pama, Matiacoali, Kompienga, and Foutouri—where attacks on educational institutions and educators remain a common occurrence. For instance, the security situation in Pama is getting worse, but as of October 31, 2022, 13,750 internally displaced people (IDPs), including 2,930 women and 8,535 children, were being welcomed into the town, according to the most recent humanitarian overview and displacement data published by the Conseil National de Secours d’Urgence et de Réhabilitation (CONASUR).

Given the complexity of schooling in this setting, education via radio is one way to keep vulnerable kids connected to their education. Children aged 10 to 17 who are not in school are given listening clubs as well as radios and USB keys through Temporary Learning Spaces. Facilitators receive training in child safety and Safe School procedures. Thanks to financial help from ECHO, 1,306 children in Pama are able to participate in the Education via Radio program.