During the period 23-26 October 2020, the NGO “Friends of Figuig”, in partnership with the NGO “Impact Development”, organized field visits to a number of tents located in the “Abbou Lakhal” commune, in the province of Figuig. These field visits aimed to study the barriers to children's access to education and resulted in enabling a group of children, boys and girls, to access the school in “Al-Dafiliya”. This result was due to the full mobilization of both associations, as well as the families’ positive response and the cooperation with local and regional authorities.
During the field visits, a series of meetings and dialogues were held, with the participation of a family of 25 residing in the shores of “Wadi Dafiliya” river. This family includes 14 children of school age, and is headed by their grandfather who expressed his reservations about the children attending school. His hesitation is due to various reasons, including:
As part of its efforts to promote access to education, the team focused on convincing the grandfather, as the head of the family in charge of making the most important family decisions, of the importance and necessity of educating children. The team was able to achieve this end by presenting him with a set of arguments that took their situation into consideration. Furthermore, the team made its points, while fully respecting the unique life and understanding of the special environment of these families and regardless of their way of life and without comparing it with other situations; this made the family members interact with the team with comfort and confidence.
The “Friends of Figuig” Association kindly provided the necessary financial and technical support, which consisted of equipping the children with the necessary school supplies; in addition to making means of transportation available to them, in order to facilitate their transportation to and from school.
With this historic milestone, these children are considered the first in a large family to attend school. Although this process was challenging, it is considered an important step in these children’s journey towards accessing knowledge. It is also an indication of the importance of building and strengthening trust between families in special circumstances and those responsible for schooling. Additionally, this stresses the importance of adopting more effective means and methods of communication in order to facilitate the achievement of the right to knowledge for all.
“Impact Development Association” and the “ Friends of Figuig” Association express their great satisfaction with this achievement, which is an important first step and praise the efforts of the Figuig regional authorities in facilitating the conduct of the field study, as well as the director of the “Dafiliya School” for his responsiveness and dedication. Both associations hope that the trust established with the families, who have demonstrated their great awareness of the future of their children, would only be strengthened in the future. The team strongly believes that the success of this initiative will be upheld as an incentive and example for other girls and boys to join the educational system.
The two associations will undertake a comprehensive evaluation of this experience and prepare the next steps in this context, by continuing to bet on a participatory approach and group engagement, as the most effective method to positively contribute to nomadic children’s access to knowledge.