Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Guinea
Education is the key to a healthier, more economically developed society, especially when every child has a chance to benefit from it. Guinea, a small country in West Africa, is no exception. Although girls’ education in Guinea is often impeded by gender bias and traditional views of women’s roles in society, the country has made great strides to create a more equal education system. Keep reading to learn the top 10 facts about girls’ education in Guinea.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Guinea

  1. There is a steep drop in girls’ enrollment between primary and secondary school. While close to 77 percent of girls attend primary school, only 25 percent of girls of secondary school age are attending. This dramatic difference is largely due to teen girls dropping out to help at home or as a result of child marriage.
  2. Gender bias hinders girls’ education in Guinea. Families with multiple children, especially those in rural areas, tend to choose to educate boys instead of girls. Guinean girls face the issue of being taken out of school to help with younger siblings and assist with cooking or other housework. This significantly affects their ability to keep up with schoolwork, which furthers the likelihood of dropping out altogether.
  3. Child marriage is a major barrier to girls’ education. In 2017, Guinea adopted the African Union campaign to end child marriage. Since the campaign’s launch, while 51 percent of Guinean girls are married before the age of 18, only 21 percent are married before 15. This number shows a slow but marked progress in keeping teen girls in school.
  4. A lack of proper toilet facilities keeps many girls out of school. For girls of menstruating age, the ability to dispose of sanitary pads and wash their hands in a single-sex bathroom is essential. UNICEF estimates that 10 percent of female students in Africa will skip school during their periods due to improper facilities, resulting in missed lessons and raising the likelihood of abandoning school altogether.
  5. Gender-based violence also poses a problem to girls’ education in Guinea. Sexual harassment—even assault—is not an uncommon occurrence for female students. Additionally, some male teachers may demand sexual favors for a passing grade, even if the student has earned a high mark on her own. While there is a lack of statistical data in regards to these assaults as they are often unreported, they are a common enough occurrence for families to worry about their daughters’ safety at school.
  6. There is a major disparity in literacy rates between urban and rural areas. While 53 percent of women ages 15 to 24 in urban areas are literate, only 15 percent of those in rural areas can say the same. As families in isolated areas are more likely to keep girls home to help with chores, especially if school is farther away, getting an education is much more of a challenge for rural Guinean girls.
  7. Girls’ enrollment in secondary school is still low, but primary school enrollment has seen a significant increase. Between 1990 and 2014, the number of Guinean girls enrolled in primary school quadrupled, largely due to millions of dollars of donations from the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. This money was used to build more schools in rural areas and hire thousands of teachers, leading to a significant increase in enrollment.
  8. The Ebola epidemic of 2014 severely impacted girls’ education in Guinea. Students missed at least 33 weeks of school during the Ebola outbreak, which put girls more at risk for dropping out altogether to support their families through marriage or work.
  9. In 2004, Guinea launched the National Plan of Action for Girls’ Education. This program was designed to build interest in girls’ education, especially at the primary school level. The initiative partners with organizations such as the European Union and UNICEF to provide income and resources for schools and actively steers the “offer of education” in favor of Guinean girls, who are more likely to drop out of school. While the program has been active for several years, Guinea still faces obstacles in bringing educational opportunities to girls in rural areas.
  10. UNICEF has implemented several local associations, known as COMEFs, to support girls’ education in Guinea. These associations work to empower Guinean mothers, who often lack education themselves, to become vigorous supporters of their daughters’ schooling. UNICEF’s main objectives are ensuring safe classrooms, helping families purchase school supplies and demonstrating how education leads to a financially healthy future.

Education is a powerful tool, especially for girls who so often find themselves fighting to stay in school. The top 10 facts on girls’ education in Guinea prove that while progress may be slow, it is still happening. Implementing programs to bring educational opportunities to girls in rural areas, discouraging child marriage and eradicating harassment in the classroom is essential to create a more equal platform for education in Guinea.

– Holli Flanagan
Photo: Flickr

In 2012, the female completion rate for primary education in Guinea was only 61.5 percent. In some rural areas, this number was as low as 34 percent. Furthermore, the secondary school participation rate was around 40 percent for male students, compared to less than 26 percent for their female peers.

UNICEF, USAID, and other humanitarian organizations have introduced grassroots programs promoting girls’ education in Guinea. Programs include COMEF, which encourages mothers to become advocates for their daughters’ schooling. UNICEF championed the Accelerated Girls Education Initiative, which sought to increase enrollment rates but also the quality of girls’ education in Guinea. Many of these initiatives have made great strides with gender equity since Guinea is second in the region only to Ghana in terms of gender equity in the schooling system. Yet, large disparities still exist, and many young girls face hurdles in the effort to obtain an education.

Barriers to girls’ education

Perhaps the largest barrier to girls’ education in Guinea is the deep-rooted sense of tradition and culture. In the type of cultured place as Guniea is, women are often viewed as solely mothers and housemakers. Such values often outweigh the perceived benefits for girls’ educational attainment, particularly in rural regions. It is a common belief that if a girl is educated, she will leave the home and lose her morals, making marriage and reproduction more difficult. Teen marriage in Guinea is very common- between 2008 and 2012, nearly 36 percent of teen girls were married. Thus, many girls drop out of school in favor of household chores that include watching younger siblings, cooking, marriage, and childbearing.

These traditional views create a dangerous cycle of illiteracy. Illiterate mothers are less likely to become advocates of their own daughter’s schooling. Programs have been established that encourage mothers to learn more about the importance of their daughter’s schooling and help them to become champions of girls’ education in Guinea. Through this participation and self-growth, mothers can become better role models for other mothers and their daughters.

Boys’ education is viewed more favorably by local communities, often being described as a “better investment.” This deep, systemic gender bias is very difficult to overcome. Parents that face limited resources and may only send one child to school will undoubtedly choose a son. Not only is boys’ education prioritized, but boys also face fewer challenges at school, such as exploitation, violence, and sexual assault.

Problems in schools

Female students in Guinea are often subject to sexual assault, abuse, and exploitation. Instances of teachers demanding sexual favors in return for passing marks, even if previously merited by student’s academic work, are way too common. Often there are no repercussions for the guilty teacher save a slap on the wrist. To ensure that girls have a safe learning environment, there must be codes of conduct for all teachers and strict ramifications for such behaviors, including loss of job and inability to be hired at any other institution.

Girls also face a risk to security due to lack of proper sanitation facilities. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, an estimated 10 percent of school-aged girls in Africa skip school during women’s period or drop out due to lack of adequate facilities. With a slight improvement in sanitation in Guinean schools from 1997 to 2002, enrollment rates for girls increased 17 percent. Many schools still lack proper bathrooms with many lacking separate toilets for boys and girls and others missing complete privacy measures including cracked windows and broken doors.

There is a strong correlation between the number of female students in schools and the number of female teachers at that school. In 2017, less than half of the primary school teachers and only 30 percent of secondary teachers were female. Having a female teacher not only makes young girls feel safe in the classroom but also gives them a positive role model, making them empowered and motivated to finish their own schooling.

Effects of education

Education is a powerful weapon and shield for young girls. It protects them against child labor, increases participation in the workforce, increases earning capacity, decreases early marriage, and reduces infant and child mortality while also having positive effects on child nutrition. Educated women are more likely to understand their rights and how to exercise them socially, politically and economically. Finally, girls’ education can create a positive cycle meaning that educated mothers are more likely to enroll their own daughters in school and promote higher levels of educational attainment.

While Guinea has made significant progress in terms of girls’ educational availability, improvement is still needed. Support from government officials, religious leaders, and local community leaders may help to eradicate the traditional and apathetic view of girls’ education. Protecting girls against gender-based violence and sexual abuse and securing adequate sanitation facilities will create a safe learning environment. Increased representation of female teachers will promote female empowerment. If these main barriers to girls’ education in Guinea are eradicated then enrollment and completion rates will skyrocket.

– Jessie Serody

Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Guinea
Guinea is one of the world’s most impoverished countries. More than half of its population lives below the poverty line and 17.5 percent struggle for food security. In 2010, Guinea established its first elected, civilian government. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guinea and its strong economic potential. Assistance with Guinea’s health, stability and effective governance is not only deeply needed by Guinea, but also something from which the U.S. ultimately gains.

Strong Economic Potential

Guinea has rich mineral resources, possessing over half of the world’s bauxite (aluminum ore) reserves. The country is also abundant in high-grade iron ore, diamonds, gold and uranium. The mining sector in Guinea is thus a major part of its economy: about 80 percent of Guinea’s foreign exchanges consist of joint-venture bauxite mining and alumina operations. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), one of the major two routes for exporting Guinea’s bauxite, is a venture jointly owned by the Government of Guinea, a U.S. company called Alcoa, and an Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto Group. The other major export force is Chinese conglomerates as well as small and midsize business.

Guinea is also blessed with reliable rainfall, abundant sunshine and natural geography that are favorable for renewable energy. The 240MW Kaleta Dam project, constructed and financed by China, began operating in 2015 and has since more than doubled Guinea’s electricity supply. The country’s climate means that it has great potential for commercial agriculture as well.

Investment Friendly

Pressed to improve development, Guinea has been increasingly open to foreign investment. The country’s government has been depleted of financial resources to improve the economy, especially since the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015. Meanwhile, enterprises in Guinea are in need of more credit than is available.

In 2016, the government launched a new website via the Investment Promotion Agency of Guinea (APIP). The website is meant to promote transparency and help make investments more smooth. The APIP also offers services to foreign investors, including creating and registering businesses, helping with access to benefits of the new investment code, providing information and research studies to interested investors, etc.

The Guinea government does not allow any foreign investor to own media in the country, but besides that, there are no restrictions discriminating against foreign investors. The U.S. also helped a group of foreign investors in Guinea and the government of Guinea form a liaison in 2015.

Barriers to Overcome

While Guinea has extremely investment-friendly laws, the enforcement of those laws needs a stable political environment and a reliable legal system. It is worth noting the country had its first democratically-elected government in 2010 after the country’s independence in 1958, but state institutions are still recovering from two years of rule by the military junta. It’s also faced a number of security and socio-economic vulnerabilities.

Guinea has a disproportionately large military with serious, deep corruption and human rights abuses. It is also feared by law enforcement because of the potential for military revolt. Even though a panel was formed in 2010 to investigate the violent crushing of tens of thousands of peaceful democracy protesters in 2009, two military commanders that the U.N. revealed to be guilty were able to keep their government positions.

Aid for Stability and Development

U.S. foreign aid would directly address barriers to private sector growth as well as improvement of economic life in Guinea in general. For one thing, the U.S. supported the 2010 election process significantly, which has greatly improved the country’s development prospects.

U.S. foreign aid was restricted in 2008 and 2009 due to the rise of the military coup at the time, but restrictions were lifted after the country’s political transformation. Aid from the U.S. helps improve democratic practices, governance, security sector reform, regional peace and stability, etc. These aspects of society are essential for the alleviation of poverty and the establishment of a solid economic infrastructure. A peaceful Guinea is also viewed as significant for restraining conflict in a region already plagued by political tension and armed struggles.

The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening, supervised by the USAID, supported the 2015 presidential election and 2018 communal elections. It strengthened Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission as well as civil society organizations in monitoring the domestic election.

Ultimately, U.S. foreign aid will assist with areas of life in Guinea that in turn presents a great economic potential for the U.S. In other words, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guinea.

– Feng Ye
Photo: Google

In places like the United States of America, marriage seems to be an exciting event for a majority of people. A celebratory get-together with family and close friends, surrounded by food, music, dancing and all the “selfies and photos” one could dream up.  However, marriage customs differ around the world depending on culture, family, tradition and even the economy. In Guinea, Africa, 76 percent of girls marry before turning 18, but this occurrence is far from just being a tradition; in fact, the high level of poverty impacts child marriage more than one might think.

People of Guinea

In Guinea, mining, minerals and fuel resources are what keep the economy alive and thriving. However, it is one of the poorest nations in West Africa and often struggles to share what wealth it does have with neighboring countries.   

While the economy works to aid both citizens and refugees within the country, health concerns also take a toll on Guinea. Polio, Measles, Ebola and HIV/AIDS affect many women and children and can leave children orphaned or separated from family. Such a traumatic event can make them vulnerable to marriage at a young age. 

Poverty and Child Marriage

Lack of access to resources such as education, literacy, health, well-being, job status and living in rural areas creates poverty and impacts child marriage, especially for young girlsIn many situations, girls are considered an economic or financial burden — a status that often leads families to marry their daughters/sisters off for economic benefit. If economic resources are available for education, more girls may utilize their education as a means to aspire for goals beyond marriage.

Poor areas often lead to poor interactions and respect among individuals who oftentimes have to fight for survival against one another. Children married at young ages will frequently experience marital and gender-based violence as a result. 

Government Involvement in Guinea’s Future

Like most countries, Guinea’s government plays a role in future change and helps discern the answer to the question: what is being done about child marriage in their country? 

As of 2018, Guinea is now a part of the African Union Commission, which helps make child marriage a priority social issue. In 2015, the Guinea Civil Union code established that men and women must equally consent to a marriage, consent must be free and valid and the marriage must be part of the civil registrar.  

Advocates For Change

Legislation also states that “promises of marriage” do not make a marriage mandatory. People under 21 years of age cannot enter into marriage without their father’s permission or someone who is an “acting father” for the household. However, legislation relating to marriage refusal is still in process, mostly due to sociocultural pressures. 

Other groups, partnerships, NGOs and organizations — such as the Pan-African Women’s organization — work diligently to break social stigmas and provide more support and liberation regardless of sex, race, religion or political affiliation. These advocates also utilize relationship and collaboration development to help fight against and provide awareness on how poverty impacts child marriage in the region. 

– Ashley Cooper

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to GuineaA West African country bordering the North Atlantic Ocean that has been called potentially one of Africa’s richest, Guinea is a mineral-rich state with a population that is among the poorest in Africa. Humanitarian aid to Guinea is an important step in improving the livelihoods of Guineans.

Situated between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, Guinea is home to about a third of the world’s bauxite reserves which have not been smelted and refined into aluminum largely owing to the political instability in the country. Chronic underdevelopment has also angered many locals who have, in desperation, disrupted operations at the country’s mines to bring attention to their plight.

According to the U.S. State Department’s Office of Investment Affairs, Guinea suffers from “persistent corruption and fiscal management.” However, the country is not only resource-rich but also filled with economic potentials in the energy and the agricultural sector.

With over four billions tons of untapped high-grade iron ore, abundant rainfall, gold and diamond reserves, off-shore oil reserves and indeterminate amounts of uranium, Guinea has many economic drivers. The country’s natural geography also makes it very hospitable to renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric dams and turbines.

In May 2015, the 240 megawatt Kaleta Dam project was built after a $526 million investment by China. Kaleta more than doubled the country’s electricity supply and encouraged the government to seek aid for more energy infrastructure, mainly in the solar and hydroelectric sector.

According to USAID, Guinea suffered heavy losses to its economical revenue and outlook in the wake of the Ebola outbreak. Many widespread preventable and treatable diseases, such as malaria, prevail in the country and infant and maternal mortality rates remain very high. Furthermore, the agricultural sector is not able to completely function to provide the much-needed source of income and revenue for the people and the government.

The success of humanitarian aid to Guinea is underlined by USAID’s work in the country. In March 2015, USAID provided more than $7 million through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to improve food security and nutrition as a means to combat poverty and hunger in Guinea.

This culminated in WFP making the largest-ever purchase of locally-produced rice, which supported the local agricultural sector and provided children with meals in hundreds of schools across the country. Furthermore, farmers were educated about the business and contracting process, including working with development partners, and were encouraged to establish relationships with banks to obtain credits and rates they could use to sustain their farms.

It has been said that Guinea’s entire population of 12 million people is at risk of malaria. Malaria control efforts and prevention policies are underway in the country, but the damage is ongoing. According to the Ministry of Health, most of the hospitalizations, consultations and deaths in Guinea are a result of malaria.

Aid organizations such as Plan International have been working for decades to provide humanitarian aid to Guinea. Plan International improves children’s access to health, education and sanitation. This is done by ensuring that sustainable, quality education is provided to all children. Children are afforded access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Furthermore, a safe environment designed to empower children is nurtured.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Guinea actively helps vulnerable people and migrants to resettle in other countries by advocating on their behalf and lending support at every step of the resettlement process, including performing medical health assessments on behalf of the resettlement countries. Funding for IOM Guinea is mainly provided by the same governments of resettlement countries, and the international community can and should support the efforts of these countries.

With more humanitarian aid to Guinea, this resource-rich country certainly carries the potential to infuse its wealth of resources into the livelihoods of all Guineans.

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr

development projects in guineaWith an abundant range of humanitarian and economic issues, foreign aid and development projects in Guinea impact topics ranging from creating sustainable energy sources to fighting and preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. Here are five projects that have contributed toward the improvement of Guinea.

  1. The installation of the Kaleta hydropower plant in May of 2015
    Located on the western African shore and home to over 12.6 million people, Guinea contains a large amount of potential energy through 12 main rivers. With only 26 percent of Guinea’s population living with electricity, the potential for hydroelectric energy to improve the country’s situation is huge. Many development projects in Guinea work toward creating accessible electricity, thereby strengthening the country’s ability to react to emergencies such as Ebola.
    According to USAID, in 2015, when Electricité de Guinée (EDG) began its management of the national grid with funding from the World Bank, one huge accomplishment was the installation of the Kaleta hydropower plant. The hydropower plant approximately doubled the output of electricity in Guinea and is beginning to meet the nation’s demand.
  2. China’s response to the Ebola outbreak
    The more access to electricity and communication that Guinea has, the more prepared and reactionary it can be to outbreaks like Ebola. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 11,310 Ebola-related deaths were confirmed in western African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. With an insufficient number of medical supplies and personnel, patients were reported dying while waiting in line for treatment.
    One of several development projects in Guinea was driven by the Chinese government. The Chinese government gave over $4.5 million to West African countries, including Guinea, to fight the recent Ebola outbreak in 2014. China sent medical supplies as well as personnel to assist Guinea in treating patients. All efforts were directly coordinated with WHO as well as with the United Nations.
  3. StopPalu project
    Another disease that wreaks havoc on Guinea’s population is malaria. As a preventable and curable disease, malaria impacts large amounts of Guineans every year following the rainy season, according to USAID. While the disease is treatable, it can be very costly for poor families.
    Garambé, a town in Guinea, was plagued with malaria so frequently that people began accepting it as the norm. USAID’s program, the StopPalu project, aimed to strengthen malaria resistance by 50 percent by 2017, and began distributing 3.3 million insecticide-treated bed nets, proven to have drastically reduced the spreading of malaria, in 2013. According to Assietou Diallo, the head nurse at the Garambé health center, the usual 50 malaria patients per month has been reduced to under 10 patients thanks to preventative measures.
    StopPalu also has trained about 1,300 volunteer medical personnel to help identify and treat malaria. This measure helps patients in remote villages who cannot travel to medical centers.
  4. Girl-friendly school EAF (Aide et Action)
    Another issue that plagues Guinea is the severe lack of education for women and children. About 40 percent of children are out of school, and only about 30 percent of young girls are literate.
    One of the reasons that attendance to schools is so low in Guinea is because many children are tasked with taking care of domestic issues and tending to crops. Without a proper education, issues such as poor family planning and the spread of HIV/AIDS rise to the surface of Guinean societies.
    Girl-friendly school EAF, which lasted from 2014 to 2017, combated these issues by working to improve educational systems in Guinea. This project aimed to improve education in rural areas by training instructors on better methods of teaching as well as on how to remove obstacles that prevent girls from receiving their education. The Turing Foundation contributed €150,000 to this educational development project.
    Roughly one out of three children in Guinea are affected by malnutrition and suffer from growth stunts, according to UNICEF. However, several African countries have agreed to a program designed to use microlevies to fund the fight against malnutrition, UNITLIFE, agreeing to use their natural resources to provide nutritious food to hungry children. Adopted in 2015, the levies were predicted to produce $100 million to $200 million in one year.

These development projects in Guinea will pave the way for sustainable prosperity by giving citizens the opportunity to be healthy and well-educated.

– Austin Stoltzfus

Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in GuineaGuinea lies on the coast of Western Africa with a population of about 12.4 million people. The country’s population has steadily grown in the past few decades due to declining mortality rates and sustainable fertility rates. However, healthcare infrastructure in Guinea still faces many issues.

Officials have attempted to address these problems over the years, but they became glaringly apparent when the Ebola outbreak began here in 2013. Since then, the government has been working with international organizations to improve the overall healthcare infrastructure. Here are four facts about the healthcare infrastructure in Guinea.

  1. Independence meant a lack of early infrastructure

    The French ruled over Guinea — or French Guinea as it was known then — until the country gained independence in 1958. As with many colonized states, the transition to independence was hindered by a lack of infrastructure and resources, in addition to Guinean officials’ refusal of French aid due to a fear of neocolonialism. Things temporarily improved in the 1980s when Lansana Conté came to power, but the situation continued to deteriorate as reforms came too slowly and conflicts increased within and around the country.

  1. An attempt at improvement was made in the early 2000s

    Although Conté was largely unpopular and many called for government reform, there were attempts in the 1990s and early 2000s to improve healthcare within the country. Some progress had been made in mortality rates for children under the age of five, but fertility and maternal mortality rates remained high. The government increased healthcare expenditures in the mid-1990s, yet 48 percent of these expenditures only benefitted the wealthiest 20 percent of the population while only 4 percent went to the poorest 20 percent. In the early 2000s, these improvements came to an end despite the fact that 10-15 percent of citizens were still permanently unable to afford healthcare.

  1. Ebola virus exemplified the weaknesses of the healthcare system

    The latest and harshest Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December of 2013. The healthcare infrastructure in Guinea was largely unprepared for a mass disease outbreak which is shown in how rapidly the disease was able to spread. Of the three most affected countries — the other two being Sierra Leone and Liberia — Guinea ranked lowest in healthcare expenditures. It faced serious staffing shortages, even with aid from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders, as well as a lack of care delivery to rural areas where the epidemic began. As of April 2016, after the worst of the outbreak had passed, 2,544 people had died in Guinea.

  1. Improvements were made to directly address problems associated with the Ebola virus

    The Guinean government’s response to the Ebola outbreak was poor, but it is working toward preventing this kind of epidemic from occurring again. The focus of improvement is now on governing and strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in Guinea. This is being carried out through the Health Commission established in the National Assembly by USAID. USAID sponsored workshops for the commission that has resulted in a 2.4 percent funding increase for healthcare. It also plans to work with urban and rural community leaders to create a more efficient response to healthcare needs throughout the country.

Guinea has long lagged behind in healthcare, but the government is trying to rectify this. Its lessons were learned the hard way through uncontrollable crises and death for which the country was simply not prepared. However, what matters most is that legislators and leaders are now putting in the work to implement efficient and sustainable healthcare for all citizens.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

GuineaGuinea, a country located on the western coast of Africa, is one of 31 fragile states that was provided with grants from the United Nations (U.N.). In 2009, the U.N. granted $25 million to develop 50 programs dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. This initiative is known as the Women’s Fund for Gender Equality (FGE). These programs for women’s empowerment in Guinea are divided into four categories: productive resources, institutional relations, interpersonal relations and personal resources.

The first category, productive resources, includes anything which deals with the economy and job market. In 2015, only 66 percent of women participated in the labour force, which is low compared to the 78 percent of men who participated. A study by the FGE found that one of the main reasons that women did not work was because they were already dedicating 82 hours a week to housework, childcare and fetching wood and water.

As a response, the FGE developed a training program to teach 300 women from Guinea’s Tristão Islands how to plant, grow, harvest and sell goods made from the moringa plant using solar polytunnel dryers. The moringa is a nutrient-rich tree that can grow in tropical climates and can easily be made into a powder, tea, paste or a sauce. Between 2013 and 2016, 25,000 moringa trees were planted and greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 40 tonnes through the use of new solar technology to dry them.

Institutional relations and interpersonal relations are closely related when it comes to FGE’s solution to help women’s empowerment in Guinea. These relations deal with the government, representation and identification in the local community. It is reported that only 48 percent of women in Guinea feel satisfied with their representation in the community. One of the reasons for this low number is that only 32 percent of women possess proper identification, which means that the majority of women cannot vote or take part in mainland institutions.

The FGE worked with Partenariat-Recherches-Environnement-Médias (PREM), a grantee organization in Guinea to establish cooperatives, which are small communities of 10-40 women and/or men. These optional groups help to organize economic efforts and help members learn from each other and save money as a collective.

As a member of a cooperative, you are also granted proper identification from PREM so you are able to participate in voting and other institutions. This means that women and men are helping to better women’s representation, but also granting them communities so that they have people in similar situations to lean on for support.

The FGE also maintains efforts to provide more personal resources to the women of Guinea. While many of the women of Guinea are beginning to enter the market of selling products, they are aware that there is more knowledge to be attained in order to be successful. Ninety-five percent of women have expressed a wish to have more knowledge when it comes to reading and writing; this knowledge is necessary to properly market and distribute their new moringa products.

Similar programs include the Business Coalition for Women, which is a group of businesses that work to improve gender equality and fight violence against women, as well as USAID’s Implementation Plan that invests in gender equality initiatives. These programs, along with the United Nations, are working hard to establish a system that increases women’s empowerment in Guinea, and these efforts continue to provide positive results.

– Scott Kesselring

Photo: Flickr

USAID Building Trust After Ebola Outbreak in Guinea
The Ebola outbreak in Guinea began in 2014 and over the course of its run in two years, there were over 3,300 Ebola cases in Guinea. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, known as Ebola, is a formerly serious, mostly fatal illness in humans. The virus is very contagious and is transmitted to humans from wild animals. The virus causes severe bleeding, organ failure, and often death.

In the midst of the epidemic, many of the citizens of Guinea were avoiding healthcare centers and hospitals in Guinea because of fear. The citizens feared the government because they were thought of as untrustworthy and the healthcare system had not been providing health services correctly. Another factor as to why people were not using health clinics and hospitals in Guinea was because of the denial that was present about the virus, as many did not regard Ebola as being a real issue and avoided seeking treatment for the disease.

After the hardships that Ebola left on the country, the stress prompted changes and restorations in the hospitals. The USAID teamed up with leaders and organizations in Guinea to guide the country and help them to recover from the virus. The USAID is aiding the country through renovations of hospitals, donating and replacing medical equipment and supplies, and rebuilding the trust in the Guinea healthcare system. The organization also started a ‘Gold Star Accreditation System‘, through a campaign alongside their partners which include the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative, Jhplego, and Guinea’s Ministry of health. The Gold Star Accreditation System puts a sign of a gold star on facilities to signify that it has passed a month long accreditation process. This has helped citizens to rebuild their trust with hospitals and facilities.

Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

Education in Guinea
Several factors contribute to extreme poverty in Guinea. Guinea has made it a priority to address the major factors that add to this plight, one of which is education. With a population of around 10 million and a literacy rate of around 30 percent for young males and females, Guinea’s Strategic Poverty Reduction Document includes education as an important factor in helping to reduce overall poverty in the country. Guinea has received help from a few different nonprofits in order to develop strategies to meet these goals.

UNICEF is working to resolve the lack of investment in education that Guinea experiences. Classrooms have begun to overcrowd recently, partially due to refugee influxes, making it difficult for students to get the time and attention they need to succeed. Investments in additional classrooms and training staff are a part of UNICEF’s plan to alleviate this pressure, as well as adding new teaching styles to cater to the uniqueness of pupils.

Through UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education is chipping away at specific goals to target the main issues surrounding education in Guinea. The partnership has set priorities of making education more universal and available, making improvements in quality and training and strengthening government to make investments in their people’s education and support reforms.

World Education, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life through access to education, has been present in Guinea since the late 1990s. World Education has focused its efforts primarily on capacity building through several different methods. They have worked to engage NGOs within Guinea and support community participation projects as well as received funding to kickstart such programs.

While most extremely poor nations experience education issues, it is important to recognize the work of the aforementioned organizations and the role of government in education. With consistent effort in this area, the state of education in Guinea can improve.

Casey Hess

Photo: Flickr