07.05.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

New project to support youth education in northern Mali

A $500.000 education project for Malian youth was signed on 5 May 2014 in Bamako, Mali ©UNESCO

A new education project will equip vulnerable youths in northern Mali with skills and knowledge to better cope with severe climate unpredictability, tensions and conflicts. The project will reach out to youth through technical and vocational education and training in the conflict-affected regions of Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. It will be implemented by UNESCO’s Office in Mali.

The $500.000 project agreement was signed on 5 May 2014 in Bamako, Mali. The ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Education of Mali, Ms. Jacqueline Marie Togola Nana in the presence of the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency Mr. Akira Matsubara and the Chief of UNESCO Bamako, Mr. Lazare Eloundou. The project is funded by Japan.

The 9-month project aims to:

  1. Integrate the building of resilience and response to climate change in technical education and vocational training;
  2. Strengthen the capacity among teachers for peace education in formal and non -formal education settings
  3. Promote the integration of risk reduction plan for disasters and conflicts and conflict resolution in educational policies of Mali

As a country located at the heart of the Sahel Region, Mali is facing extreme levels of vulnerability. It’s being exposed to disasters that are affected by climate unpredictability, food insecurity, and conflicts.

While education provides basic survival skills and builds resilience, more than half of the young population in this region is out of school and lacks basic education, professional and/or vocational skills in Mali. Only one out of 3 adults can read and write.

The challenge of youth employment

The Minister of Education highlighted the excellent relations between the Governments of Mali and Japan and thanked the Government of Japan for the continuous support to the development of education in Mali.

“I hope that this important project can contribute to the resolution of the thorny challenge of youth employment reaching out to youth both in and out of school, the construction of peace, reducing the risk of conflict and disasters in Mali, especially in the northern regions,” the Minister said.

In his address, the Japanese Ambassador mentioned the excellent relations between the Government of Japan and that of Mali, and the good partnership with UNESCO.

From 1997 to 2009, the Government of Japan has contributed about 32.5 billion CFA francs for the construction of 260 schools across Mali. Since 2009, the Government of Japan has invested in the construction of the Institute of Teacher Training in Kati for about 4 billion CFA francs.

UNESCO’s Representative Mr. Lazare Eloundou thanked the Malian Government for choosing to associate UNESCO in its strategy to enhance the quality of education in Mali and to mobilize all services in her ministry so that the project is executed within the allotted time. He also expressed UNESCO’s gratitude to the Government of Japan for the decision to fund this project to support education in emergencies.

Education to build resilience

“Education should be a priority as a key vehicle to build resilience, which allows people to anticipate, adapt, and recover sooner and better from crises, and thus saving lives,” Mr Eloundou said.

The ceremony was attended by the Directors of the National Education Central Services, the national director of employment and vocational training as well as many journalists.

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