Education is of great importance for the independent development of any nation. In more and more small villages in Burkina Faso primary schools have been established an increasing number of parents are sending their children to school, as the opportunities that a good education offer are being increasingly appreciated. Nevertheless illiteracy in Burkina Faso still stands at approximately 75%, a very high proportion. There are quite clearly a host of reasons why only a small propertion of children in villages achieve a primary school education: for many families their nearest school is simply too far away; many parents are not able to finance their children’s education or require them to stay at home to help out in the fields.
For the more fortunate children who are able to attend school, preparing for lessons and exams is difficult. It gets dark by six pm every evening. From then on Kerosene lamps are the only source of light. These lamps are expensive, and the weak light and soot they produce can be harmful to health. As well as this, teachers are not able to plan the following day’s teaching the evening before, which affects the quality of teaching. These problems contribute to the low percentage of children that graduate from school.Just one simple solar power system can provide enough energy to light one or two classrooms for up to six hours every evening. This can transform the village school into a place of learning in the evening hours, where pupils can get on with their homework and teachers can plan lessons properly for the day ahead. The inhabitants of the village can also benefit from their community’s newly-lit facility, which can offer literacy courses for adults in the evenings. Furthermore the school can be used for village community events, such as elections, meetings and celebrations.
Having light in the evenings is a clear indication and symbol of development in rural regions. People are proud of this progress and consequently more parents are sensitised to the importance of education and as a result more send their children to school. A solar power system in a school makes learning more accessible to children, improves the quality of teaching and increases access to education.
Pupils at schools in Germany can also benefit from the project by signing up for a partnership with a school in Burkina Faso. Each project is extensively documented and informative literature is individually compiled. In many cases, a letter exchange has also been set up between pupils at both schools. All of this allows the pupils to relate to something accessible and real within the subject field of development cooperation. Lessons on the topic of the ‘third world’ are therefore made much more engaging and personal.