On the 7th October a “murales” was inaugurated in the village of Boubangui (south-west part of the Central African Republic), painted by 600 people: children, parents, local and administrative authorities, religious representatives, teachers and four painters from the capital Bangui, thereby concluding “the support project of educational systems of the regions Bobaye and Ouama Pende”. The project was developed and conducted by COOPI and financed by UNICEF/PME.
The project, which is part of a broader program regarding awareness and formation activities, has been going on for a year involving 47556 children, 100 teachers and 160 representatives of the local authorities.
Educating children and communities
“Within the context of a country which has been tormented for the past two years by political and military problems, the importance of schooling has been a theme that involves the whole community ”explains Paolo Prina, COOPI’s project leader. “In regard to this, the murales has been considered an artistic piece of work able to emphasize the relationship between education and social cohesion.”
This is exactly what COOPI’s project is focusing on in the Central African Republic: a good education has economic and social benefits. It helps to reduce the psychosocial impact of conflicts and helps to develop a critical way of thinking and thereby the ability to identify and prevent a crisis before it happens.
On the one hand it has been fundamental to involve children and adults in informative operations, artistic manifestations and activities of animation: radio campaigns at local and national levels, debates, plays, games, dances and art work on school walls.
On the other hand, teachers have benefited from a training program of high quality and aim to construct an educational system which is durable and sustainable. Not only teachers, but also teacher-parents who have been provided with the pedagogic competences to help children read, write and calculate.
Many people have been reached with a clear message: one of the rights of childhood includes that every child and youngster should be able to have access to education. Due to violence and social political insecurity, these children often experience great gaps in their schooling and sometimes have never gone to school.
Now the children of Lobaye and Ouham Pendè have to opportunity to go back to school, use books and scholastic kits and learn and work in more functional class rooms, in a more colourful school which is more attentive to their necessities.