Vocational training in Burkina Faso: not for everyone
by Marjan Schaapman on 13 January, 2014

In many countries parents consider it more important for their children to obtain diplomas than to learn a profession; that can be learned on the job, out of school. Also in Burkina Faso the ‘chomage qualifié’ is high; children mostly follow a general education, and the education system provides also more for general than vocational training. However, gradually more and more parents realize that vocational training provides their children maybe a better chance on a job and income. Also young people who have finished a university, and obtained no job, decide to learn a profession, to increase their chances for work and income.


DSC02460Paul visited from 8 to 12 January 2014 three vocational training / professional education centres in Ouagadougou. His conclusion: people are willing and interested, but the facilities are still limited. The purpose of this visit was to orient ourselves on ways the Van Doorn Foundation can play a role and participate in developing better and more vocational training.


The CEFPO is a public professional training centre, which has been set up by the government two years ago. Facilities are available to provide 10 different training courses, but only five have so far been operational, namely the courses to become bricklayer, metalworker, car mechanic, electrician and for computer service technician.


A minimum of 15 students per training – necessary to start – has not been achieved for the other five courses. Supposedly the cost of the training plays a role in this. The price of CFA 300.000 (EUR 450) for an 18-months training (equivalent to EUR 25 per month) is too much for many people. The fact that there is a dropout of 25% in the training programmes started is another indication that for a lot of families it is impossible or nearly impossible to contribute the school fees; as many have to live on an income of less than EUR 2 per day!

The availability of individual study funding can be a solution for many young people.


The 'Centre de Formation Artisanat' in Ouagadougou is a vocational training centre that has only been started a year ago by the Don Bosco Foundation. Young people can follow computer- and cooking lessons, learn how to weave, or can follow a course to become hairdresser or a car /motor mechanic. In addition, to some reading and writing are taught, to reduce illiteracy.


The computer lessons last two months and the other courses four months, but it has already been ascertained that the courses are too short to learn a skill. It is therefore being considered to extend these trainings to 8 months. The cost of these courses is much lower than those from the public CEFPO, which makes them more accessible: computer lessons cost CFA 5000 (EUR 7.50) per month and the other courses approximately CFA 2000 (EUR 3) per month.

Mid 2014 the present donor support will stop and the functioning of the centre will be evaluated. The Van Doorn Foundation can eventually participate in the evaluation and provide assistance in drafting a business plan for the centre to increase its sustainability.


DSC02458 The third centre Paul visited in Ouagadougou is CFPH, a vocational training centre that especially aims at mentally retarded and physically handicapped people. It has been set up about forty years ago by a French religious person, and since the last 30 years is being managed by one of the first handicapped students of the centre, Madame Agnes. The centre provides courses lasting 3 years in garment making, weaving, embroiling, making toys and jewelry, knitting and crocheting. The centre is considering to add - especially for handicapped men - two additional courses, namely for wood carving and car / motor mechanics. A training course cost in average CFA 25.000 per year, which is approx. 3 Euro per month.


During Paul’s visit the centre received 10 wheel chairs of an Italian charity organisation. Other charity funds provide donations for salaries of the teachers. At this moment the centre is in particular looking for assistance to start up the two new courses, and for volunteers who can transfer the basic knowledge of orthopedics to staff of the centre.

It is very impressive to see that those being handicapped themselves are so motivated to help, without any government support, their handicapped fellowmen to learn a skill, so that they can earn their own revenues, provide for themselves, and become increasingly respected.

from our photo book
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