Educated women have more freedom. According to the World Bank, educated women tend to be healthier, more autonomous, more involved in the labor market, marry later, and have fewer children. Educating women and girls is an essential part of eliminating global poverty. Schola Africa, a French non-profit organization, has been working in Burkina Faso and Senegal to provide women and girls with access to the education they need to have better lives.
In a conversation with Joseph Larue, who recently earned his Master’s from EDHEC Business School, he discussed his experience with Schola Africa and their effort to provide women the opportunity to become integrated into the economy and find financial autonomy.
Larue participated in the Schola Africa program in 2017. Working in Bobo Dioulasso, the economic capital of Burkina Faso, he built classrooms, a library, and impluviums for access to clean water. One compelling part of Schola Africa’s program, Larue explained, is the sewing training program for women.
Since 2002, Schola Africa has maintained a sewing training center for the young women of Burkina Faso. A three year training period leads to a diploma recognized by the State, and this allows them to integrate into the labor market more easily and secure financial independence.
In addition to sewing lessons, students also take courses in management and economics, learning how to reduce tissue waste and develop essential business skills. At graduation, students participate in a fair where they can begin selling what they made during the training. Schola Africa awards motivated and ambitious women with grants to create their workshops, start their businesses, and gifts essential items like sewing machines and business cards.
Larue explained the philosophy behind this program: Keynesian multiplication. When consumers shops locally, they are more likely to continue to do so, and those local economies can flourish. Poverty is a complex issue, and it involves the structural characteristics of impacted communities.
According to Global Citizen, poverty is cyclical. Individuals born into poverty are more likely to remain there. This brutal cycle can be disrupted if girls and women are educated. Their education is often purposely neglected, yet it has the potential to mitigate cycles of poverty greatly.
Education, like the sewing training program provided by Schola Africa, allows women to stabilize their economic positions and pave the way for a more financially secure future for themselves and potential children.
The quality of life, Larue concluded, is greatly improved through Schola Africa’s many contributions to the developing cities. The schools and special programs have “helped hundreds, or thousands of people, to get a better future.”
While the endeavor to end global poverty is far from over, efforts like that of Schola Africa and the work of people like Larue are paving the road for a brighter future for all.