Burkina Faso has been subject to terror attacks since 2015 in several parts of the country, with a cluster of violence in the northern and eastern regions. These attacks pose a serious humanitarian crisis, resulting in over a thousand deaths and more than a million internally displaced individuals so far (https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/burkina-faso/). According to IOM, the majority of displaced persons are women and children who have enormous needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www.iom.int/news/burkina-faso-records-one-million-internally-displaced-its-most-ever-violence-rages-amid-covid). Particularly, the children seem to pay a steep price in terms of trauma and lack of quality education. Indeed, although they have access to formal education, most children in the camps are no longer motivated to attend school and prefer turning to work in gold mining sites where their safety and well-being are at risk.
In this project, we propose to organise 3 day-long, astronomy-themed workshops in three selected camps set up by the government to accommodate internally displaced persons (IDPs). The workshops will be aimed at children who should be attending primary school and will feature various interactive and fun STEM activities. We will also include recreational activities featuring cultural astronomy content. The workshops’ materials will be designed after interviewing the children in the selected camps, who will help us further understand their needs and challenges. With these workshops, we aim to:
– alleviate the trauma endured by the camps’ young children (and also families) as a result of the armed attacks,
– stimulate in these children the will to learn and attend school,
– expose them to a world full of wonders and endless possibilities, where all ethnic groups and races are celebrated as one people.