The FIERES project and the accelerated schooling strategy/passerelle (SSA/P) centers in Mali

News | Published at: February 14 2024

An innovative strategy from the FIERES project to increase access to formal education for girls and adolescents.

In Mali, getting girls into school is a major challenge, as they face many obstacles, such as the burden of household and field work, early marriage, lack of hygiene kits and separate toilets to manage menstruation. All these factors contribute to school drop-out and absenteeism. In the parental mindset, only boys have the right to go to school, and girls' future is restricted to the home after marriage.

Against this backdrop, the FIERES (Filles et éducation résilientes) project, carried out in consortium with CECI and the Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie, has developed a strategy to set up 20 SSA/P centers, in order to increase the school enrolment rate of children, and more specifically of girls and teenagers. These centers represent an alternative to give them the chance of a better future through education.

Fatoumata is one of the many girls to benefit from the courses offered by a SSA/P in the Mopti region.

Aged 13, she is restricted to housework. "In my community, schooling for girls is a real problem. Here, school is for boys, and girls' future lies in the home. Myself, given my age, I thought I'd never be able to set foot in school," Fatoumata contextualizes.

She continues: "My integration into this center as a learner has changed my academic level, because before, I knew nothing about school and courses, I had no academic level at all. I used to do housework, go out to the fields, accompany the oxen and sheep to pasture."

Thanks to the community's awareness of the SSA/P center, this young teenager has reached an academic level that enables her to write, read and also calculate. Courageous, determined and intelligent, Fatoumata Bocoum distinguished herself by beating the record in her first compositions and came top of her class
with an average grade of 9/10.

Now, when Fatoumata comes home, her parents ask her to read or write for them. The knowledge she has acquired at the center has benefited both her and her parents.

The young student concludes with determination: "I think going to school is preparing myself for a better future, now and in the future, forging my personality to help my parents, my community and even my country."

Photo : Seydou Sanogo
Learn more about the FIERES project 
The project is being carried out by the Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie and CECI consortium, and is made possible by funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.