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Coaching for Hope - Getting kids out of the gold mines and back in school


Coaching for Hope - Getting kids out of the gold mines and back in school

sportanddev caught up with Simon Ziba from Coaching for Hope (CFH) to learn how football can encourage children in Burkina Faso to stop working in gold mines and return to the classroom.

Skillshare International's Coaching for Hope programme created the I Have a Dream project (2012-2015) to help children understand the economic opportunities afforded by an education rather than turning to gold mining as their source of income. The project focused on youth from five villages in the Dori region of Burkina Faso and used football as a vehicle to address various topics including child labour, health and the importance of education. The following interview was conducted with Coaching for Hope Project Officer Simon Ziba earlier this year.

sportanddev: What activities have effectively brought youth out of the mines and back to school?

In terms of the return and retention of children in classrooms, it is through football that the project has reached that goal. Knowing the love and passion that children have for sport, every week experienced coaches – assisted by level 1 coaches trained by the project – led football sessions, and recreational and educational games in each school. Children also received information on HIV, health, leadership, the harmful effects of gold mining and the importance of school. The regular occurrence of such activities ensured not only that children who were already enrolled stayed in school, but attracted and motivated the return of absentees. This is illustrated by the statements of the teachers who sent letters requesting the project’s continuity.

sportanddev: What skills did the youth develop through the “I have a dream” programme? How did these skills encourage them to continue their education?

The first important thing that students and their parents have learned from the project intervention area is the importance of the school at the expense of gold mining. Many parents have for this reason entrusted the coaches with their children and are willing to enroll and re-enroll their children in school in the coming years. Testimonies of the same kind were also given by young people who had dropped out of school. Speaking of behaviour they have developed, it is the opinion of the inhabitants of the villages and beneficiaries themselves that they are better organised both in daily life and in the field of football, and are better informed about HIV-AIDS. In addition, they have increased their leadership skills, making them more accountable. All this has much to do with their decision to enroll or re-enroll in school.

sportanddev: How has the project been able to raise awareness of children’s rights, health and safety while working in the mines?

Unlike some localities where miners build their homes on site, in the area of intervention of "I have a dream" they returned back early from panning for gold to participate in the activities of the project. Thus, people were always present during activity sessions (educational talks, film shows and fora theater). People were informed of the daily activities in advance through community leaders. Often, coaches and facilitators paid visits to the gold mining site to witness on-the-ground realities and to take advantage of the opportunity to educate these populations based on tangible and concrete examples of the drawbacks to mining in place of getting an education. var options={ "publisher": "1a005803-67b5-4f1c-bbc4-76e207266b69", "position": "right", "ad": { "visible": false, "openDelay": 5, "closeDelay": 0}, "chicklets": { "items": ["facebook", "twitter", "linkedin", "pinterest", "email", "sharethis"]}};


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Leena Woodhouse-Ledermann


Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 08:00