In the Ganzourgou Province, one of the 45 provinces of Burkina Faso, more than 2,000 children, nearly 50% of whom were girls, were tallied at mining sites between September 2017 and April 2018 by Terre des Hommes Lausanne (Tdh) and its local partners. To combat this phenomenon, since more than ten years Tdh Lausanne’s projects educate, train and empowered children and youths in the area. Let's meet some of these young people who escaped the call of gold.
Workshop for rebuilding computers in cans
Extreme poverty is the main cause of migration and of child labour at gold mining sites of the Ganzourgou Province in the Plateau-Central region of Burkina Faso. At mining sites, children are exposed to many physical (injury, bites of dangerous animals), health (associated with the handling of chemicals) and biological hazards (microorganisms causing tetanus and brucellosis through contact with infected animals). Added to this are the risks of physical and sexual abuse as well as other kinds of violence that children and young people constantly face.
With support of the Belgian development agency - Enabel - and its Wehubit Programme, Terre des Hommes Lausanne and its partner WakatLab have put in place since June 2020 the RESOLAB project. It aims to improve access to education and training and the socio-economic integration of children (aged 7-17) and young people (aged 18-24) in the Ganzourgou Province through digital manufacturing communities.
Diane KORSAGA, aged 18, lives in Mogtédo and is one of the project’s beneficiaries.
“I got to know the FABLAB¹ thanks to an intermediary. He is a regular customer at my grandmother’s shop. He had noticed I was young still and told me about the RESOLAB project. As I was looking for training opportunities, I decided to participate.”
Diane is sitting in front of the poster of the ResoLab project (© Alain W. GUILLA /FablaB Manager).
When Diane dropped out of school, she left the capital Ouagadougou and moved to Mogtédo in the province of Ganzourgou.
“When I arrived at Mogtédo, I first thought about looking for work at the mining sites. But I was told that the work there was hard and that it was not a good place for girls.”
In August 2020, Diane attended computer literacy classes offered by the RESOLAB project.
“I'm glad I took part in this training. I learned more about computers. On top of that, I learned text entry and above all I know some components of the computer.”
Diane is a school drop-out. She comes from a family of seven children and had to give up her studies in the 4th grade because of lack of financial means.
“I was living with my parents in Ouagadougou, but a year ago I stopped school to join my grandmother here in Mogtédo because my parents could no longer afford to pay for tuition. Since I've been here, I've been helping my grandmother with her business,” she says while serving dolo – a local beer – to a customer.
Thanks to the training she had, her daily life will change and she already sees more interesting prospects for employment.
“The introduction to digital tools that I received makes me want to continue training allowing me to become a secretary in a public secretariat. But my dearest wish would be to set up my own public secretariat and train other children.”
Diane particularly appreciated the training and thanked the project. Above all, she wants to deepen the knowledge gained through other training sessions. The training that Diane took is the first step in a series of training sessions and programming activities offered by the RESOLAB project. Diane, like other young beneficiaries of this first session, will be able to benefit from further sessions and support to realise their project idea. They will promote the project among their peers, raise awareness and bring together other young people.
Beyond the digital issue, the RESOLAB project wants to tackle the root causes of migration and child labour on ASM sites by offering alternatives to the youth of Ganzourgou.
Between September 2017 and April 2018 Terre des Hommes Lausanne tallied 2,203 children (1,079 girls and 1,124 boys) in four ASM² sites in the Ganzourgou Province. The number of artisanal sites in the country is increasing and it is estimated that there are between 700 and 800 sites. The number of children working or living on ASM sites could reach 700,000 to 800,000. Approximately 49% of them are girls.
With RESOLAB, Terre des hommes hopes to reach 1,374 direct beneficiaries (including teachers, vulnerable young people and children aged 7-24, including 60% girls) and more than 73,043 people indirectly (55% of whom are women) by local media to enhance the project's impact.
¹ A FabLab, a contraction of fabrication and laboratory, is a workshop that is open to the public and offers an array of flexible computer-controlled tools, to design and make almost anything (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab_lab)
² Artisanal and Small-scale Mining