Hussaini, 14, is one of the lucky ones. He escaped. In 2018, as terrorism by extremist groups crossed into Burkina Faso, his village was attacked while he was in school. First, he heard screaming, and then gunfire. “They shot at our teachers and killed one of them,” he says. “They burned down the classrooms.” Hussaini ran home and within a matter of minutes, his family set off. They left everything behind, including school. Since that day, Hussaini has not set foot in a classroom. “I used to love school, to read, to count and to play during recess,” he says. “It’s been a year since I last went…”
From the end of 2017 to 2019, the number of schools forced to close due to rising insecurity tripled. More than 9,200 schools closed across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and others, leaving 1.9 million children without education. These children face a much higher risk of recruitment by armed groups, gender-based violence and targeting by traffickers. Most parents in Africa will tell you that their children’s education is the most important investment they can make.
Education is the UN’s top priority because it is a basic human right and the foundation on which to build peace and drive sustainable development. Unfortunately, lack of education for the young generation remains highly present in the world.
The problem is a cycle: lack of education results in high child labor and low literacy rate thus increasing the world’s problems such as crimes. And in its turn, terrorism decreases education opportunities. Hussaini is among millions of other children that were deprived from quality education and had high chances to be part of child labor.
Poor basic education can be identified by high child employment rate. So, what are the target continent and countries?
The map shows that the Average Child Employment Rates (ages 7-14) is highest in Africa.
Having a deeper look, Cameroon ranks first for having the highest average child employment rate of 52.7% for years 2006-2015, followed by Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso.
Referring to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 4:
What if kids will get exposed to education in early stage?
Can we influence their perception?
Fulfilling the Dream
Education cannot wait, and our world had enough. It is time to increase the number of education programs targeting young generation, and specifically African countries as previously mentioned, with Cameroon being a major target.
Creating education programs would:
Have education camps with volunteering and non volunteering teachers all around the world
Use workshops and fun trainings to later voluntarily engage kids
Involve underdeveloped countries in globalization
Introduce the diversity of cultures
Work on making education a need and will for every kid and parent- representing a lasting impact environment
Many past programs were successfully implemented in Cameroon such as Open Dreams, which already funded more than 200 scholarships and mentored more than 1000 students.
Is it Time?
Targeting Cameroon, and implementing it as a first stage project, would be a start to then expand into other countries.
Finally, from another perspective, how about looking at equalizing educational opportunities as a solution to many other issues? and working on SDG 4 for quality education will strongly and positively affect other goals such as ending poverty and hunger?
The demographic composition of the Arab world has been changing as birth rates have decreased drastically. The birth rate per 1,000 people in the Arab world has gone from around 42% in 1979 to around 24% in 2020, which is close to half.
The potential reason behind the birth rate decrease is the increase in literacy rates among adult females aged 15 and above. Continuing education, or even gaining basic reading and writing skills, is leading Arab females to slightly shift their focus away from childbirth and more towards personal care and self fulfillment. This can be seen as literacy rates in adult females aged 15 and above in the Arab world has more than doubled from around 30% in 1979 to around 66%. This has happened in the same period where the birth rate went down by almost half.
On average, females that are literate are more aware of contraceptive devices, which allow them to make a conscious decision on when they prefer to get pregnant. These females also know about the difficulties of raising a large family, the amount of investment and commitment needed, and the benefits of having a family that is within their financial and emotional providing abilities. Females are currently also more integrated in the workforce and they’re climbing up the hierarchy which is leaving them with less time for pregnancy and childcare.
Quality Education, as a Sustainable Development Goal is crucial, as it is the glue that sticks all the Development Goals together. Education helps decrease poverty and gender inequality. In this case, education and literacy are helping women take control of their lives. They’re now deciding if and when they prefer to get pregnant.
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm X
Asia, my helper at home is from Ethiopia and dropped out of school at lower secondary school age because of poverty,and she once told me “If it was up to me, I would choose to get educated. However, this is my life.”236 million children and youth in the world are Asia where 57 million are in the Central and West Africa region. These adolescent need all the help they can get in order to get out of the conditions they are living. They have the right like every child to have access to education.
Adolescents who can afford it are sent to private schools in several African countries. But many people in rural areas and poorer households do not have that option.
The above map shows the average of Adolescents out of school on all over the world from 2000 till 2021 where the African region has the highest average from all the others.
The increase in dropout rates is due to several reasons. According to UNICEF, adolescents dropout rates are influenced by child marriage, conflicts and disasters, and gender discrimination. Also, Poverty plays a major role in increasing the rates of adolescents out of school where they are forced into employment at a very young age to accommodate the living demands.
There is a positive correlation between Average % of poverty headcount ratio at national poverty line & average % of Adolescents out of school throughout the years for all countries. The highest average percentage of poverty is in the African region such as South Sudan having 82.3% which leads to have high average percentage of adolescents out of school (51.18%)
Also, there is a positive correlation between Average % of child marriage at the age of 15 & average % of Adolescents out of school throughout the years for all countries. The highest average percentage of early marriage is in the African region such as Niger having 37.38% which leads to have high average percentage of adolescents out of school (83.03 %).
All countries, especially those with low levels of education, should restrict early marriage.
Due to the several factors mentioned, Adolescents are forced in employment where Niger for example has the highest Average of Adolescents in employment (50.23% ) compared to other African countries as shown in the above graph.
Actions to be taken:
• Raise awareness on the importance of education
• Provide financial support for poor families
• Provide flexible, affordable, high-quality school options
• Improve the access to education
• Ensure that all adolescents complete free, equitable secondary education.
All the above factors are important in guaranteeing a better future for children. However, it is recommended that they be accompanied by the right laws that prevent child employment and provide equal opportunities for females to participate in the workplace.
Sarah, a 20-year-old housewife, gets beaten up every time by her husband for not being able to cook, and she totally agrees that he has the right to do that. And there are many others like her!
Violence against Women from their partners is one of the most widespread public issues affecting the individual, family, and community. As not only does it affect the women’s mental and physical health, but also that of their children, relatives, and neighbors. Thus, it is important to tackle the reasons behind it.
Shockingly, the proportion of women who believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife is high and increasing worldwide. For instance, an average of 53% of women and girls worldwide believe that men are justified to beat their wives. The highest concentration of this positive attitude towards domestic violence is in Africa, south Asia, and west south America.. Use the graph below to discover the percentages of each country. Tap anywhere to view the top countries (countries with highest percentages of women justifying the husbands’ violence).
Women believe it is justifiable for men to beat up his wife when she:
Argues with him
Refuses to have sex
Burns the food
Goes out without telling him
Neglects the children.
Among these reasons, neglecting the children constitutes the top reason of justifying domestic violence with 26.32%.
But why is this the case?
Early marriage highly impacts this mindset. Child marriage limits the young girls’ power, resources, knowledge, social support, freedom, and independence. Young married girls have little power in relation to their husbands and in-laws, which makes them believe that a man is sometimes justified to beat his wife. For instance, Girls who marry early are more likely to believe that a man is justified in beating his wife than women who marry later. As seen in the figure below, there is a very strong correlation between the number of women who were married early and number of women who believed that husbands are justified in beating their wives throughout the years.
Also, a negative correlation with the total governmental expenditure on education is shown, implying that government can play a huge role in limiting this mindset, through increasing their expenditure on education as it has shown a great influence on the proportions of early marriage, and women believing it is okay to beat up wives. For this reason, laws should be released to prohibit early marriage and motivate girls to get higher educational attainment.
Having equality in educational attainment among genders will empower women and stop them from accepting to get beaten up by their husbands. This is related to goal 4 of the UN, which considers eliminating the disparities among genders to ensure equal access for all to affordable and quality technical, vocational education among all levels: tertiary, primary secondary and higher education.
Finally, Education is essential, but allowing young people’s voices to be heard is also crucial to empowering the next generation. If women feel heard, they will feel more empowered and thus they are more likely to instigate change.