Basic education as a sustainable investment in Mali

Over half of Malian children do not complete their primary education. Girls in particular often stop going to school after a few years. By offering bridging arrangements for basic schooling and vocational training, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation gives these children the chance to get their education back on track.
Schools are not in a good way in Mali, one of the poorest countries on Earth. Teachers are badly trained – or completely untrained. Decentralisation has made councils responsible for running local schools and they do not usually have the requisite skills to do this. Inadequate schooling drastically reduces children’s and young people’s chances of being trained for a job and therefore of successfully entering the world of work.

This is the starting point of our non-formal education project in Mali. Helvetas was commissioned by SDC to support children who had not had the chance to finish their state primary and secondary schooling, with a focus on enabling them to catch up on the reading, writing and arithmetic skills they lack through intensive nine-month courses. The goal is for the children to then cross over into the state primary school or start a vocational course.

Since most adults are also unable to read or write, our project includes a large number of adult literacy courses tackling everyday issues. The project also promotes the formation of school committees to give parents a say in decisions on school matters.

It is essential that these efforts are sustainable and well-embedded locally.

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation therefore helps local authorities to take on greater responsibility and is campaigning for non-formal education to be part of the state education system in future. The project is also committed to providing training – and further training – for teachers and explains to parents how important it is that their children attend school - and complete their schooling.

This is a project mandate implemented on behalf of SDC

project impact

1,815 pupils successfully completed basic education in a school or institution supported by Helvetas in 2016.