Students commit to education for all in Burkina Faso with UNICEF

IÉSEG is committed to empowering tomorrow’s ethical and responsible changemakers by developing their curiosity, their knowledge of other cultures and their sense of commitment.

In this context, first year students of the Grande École Program and of the Bachelor in International Business are asked to work on an interdisciplinary solidarity project in partnership with UNICEF. This flagship project allows them to apply the skills (communication, project management, accounting, governance and risk management, legal responsibility…) and soft skills acquired in class, to an international solidarity project.

We met a group of students (Amélie, Jérémy, Juliette, Mathis, Alma, Marie and Sarah) who, after having become familiar with the field of solidarity associations, launched a concrete action to collect donations for a cause that is close to their hearts: “Tous à l’École” (All in School).

©Tous à L’école / UNICEF

Why did you choose this project specifically?

Education for all is an important issue for us, so we chose to get involved with “Tous à l’École”, a program to help educate children in Burkina Faso. This project, supported by UNICEF, seeks to promote educational alternatives to strengthen the resilience of the education system in the Sahel region. Indeed, in this region of the world, the schooling rate for children is very low (barely 25%), yet education is the best way to fight against poverty and all forms of inequality in developing countries.

We therefore went to meet the children of the Sainte-Marie school in Willems (near Lille) for a whole day, to make them aware that access to school is a privilege.

How did your awareness campaign work?

Our awareness action took the form of a short presentation and above all of playful activities: “Questions for a champion” with a sports course, creative workshops, game of differences, memory game… with 80 children of the school, in order to develop their knowledge on Burkina Faso and its educational system.

Based on our personal experience, we knew that in elementary school (but also in secondary school), teaching must be fun and attractive to have an impact on the youngest. This is why we decided to set up various workshops.

The director of the school had given us many guidelines and advice to make this day a success, and we benefited from regular follow-ups from our teachers as well as coaching sessions, which allowed us to reorient ourselves when necessary and to manage our time well.

Finally, as this awareness day took place during Lent, the school decided to donate the profits from the traditional ” pain-pomme ” sharing meal to UNICEF, which gave even more meaning to our approach and especially to the children’s commitment.

What is your assessment of this solidarity experience?

We were able to see how useful our action was. It was a very concrete project with a real impact. The children seem to have understood the differences between their school in France and the one in Burkina Faso, as well as the different ways of learning.

Moreover, we received very good feedback from the teachers and, thanks to the potluck, we raised €736 for UNICEF*, and €915 in total, thanks to a lily of the valley sale on May 1st, which completed our fundraising. We are convinced that this is a project that will remain in our memories for a long time!

©Tous à L’école

What did you learn thanks to this project?

We have developed our organizational skills, our adaptability and our time management… thanks to the implementation of this solidarity project. We have acquired these “soft skills” so sought after by employers. The implementation of this concrete project in partnership with UNICEF also allowed us to put into practice what we had seen in class during our first year.

We knew that this project was part of the curriculum before coming to IÉSEG and we were really looking forward to it. In the end, we were really satisfied with the result. The children gave us the check for the project at the end of the day, which was very symbolic for us. We were really touched because all the children gathered in the playground and applauded us. It was really something beautiful and we are extremely proud of the success of our project.

* This year, more than €80,000 was raised for UNICEF thanks to the commitment of all the first year students of the Grande École Program and the Bachelor in International Business of IÉSEG.