The former French colony of Guinea is located on the west coast of Africa. After many years of internal turbulence due to, among other things, unrest in neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia, Guinea is now relatively stable and democratic.
The past year, however, has been marked by political unrest, the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic and a sharp fall in commodity prices. In addition, the country was affected by a measles epidemic. Despite the fact that the country has Africa’s largest mineral resources, the country is very poor. Most of the population works in agriculture, but unemployment is very high – especially among young people.
Guinea is a challenging country for children to grow up. Infant mortality is high due to malnutrition and diseases that could easily be prevented and treated. Gender-based violence is also a common problem in the country.
Some results from the past year
Plan International works to strengthen the rights of all children and young people to life, development, protection and participation in our programs in the country.
In the past year, we have prevented malaria by visiting 387,268 families to inform about the infection, how it is spread and distributed mosquito nets. In addition, we have ensured that 450 young people are trained in technical subjects through our entrepreneurial projects to increase their opportunities in the labor market. Following our awareness campaign on genital mutilation, 19 societies have banned the practice.
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We girls often drop out of school after grade six because we have to help our mothers with housework. Many parents also see schooling as a waste of time.
The 13-year-old Marie-Sia tells of a reality that unfortunately applies to many children in Guinea. Of the families who want to send their children to school, many cannot afford school costs, school uniforms and school supplies. To ensure that children receive the education to which they are entitled, Plan International has, among other things, built 163 classrooms and distributed 9,394 school packages to children whose families cannot afford school supplies. In addition, we have built 25 wells and 141 toilets to ensure clean water and good hygiene conditions.
Participation in society
Disseminates knowledge about children’s rights on the radio
Thanks to Plan International, we have increased parents’ understanding and knowledge of children’s rights via radio.
Plan International works to spread knowledge and information about children’s rights by getting children to spread their message via their own radio programs. In 2017, 72 radio programs were broadcast with various topics on children’s rights. In one of the programs, the children focused on how child marriage violates girls’ rights. Another program was about education and the importance of having time to read and do your homework.
Raby wants to be a strong role model
“I hope that one day all the girls will have the opportunity to be involved and make decisions about what is about their lives.” That’s what Raby from Guinea, who represented Plan International in Paris on International Girls’ Day, says.
On International Girls’ Day on October 11, 400 girls from all over the world traveled to Paris to demand equality and justice for girls. The meeting, which was about girls’ rights, was attended by hundreds of leading figures from both governments, the entertainment industry, companies, sports and the media. During the seminars, it was discussed how it really is with girls’ rights in 2017 and the importance of investing so that more girls can reach their full potential.
Five of the girls represented Plan International and Raby from Guinea was one of them. She is 25 years old, a blogger and activist for girls’ rights.
– Society has everything to gain from respecting girls and women. Women form the basis of the whole society and if they receive education they can represent the next generation. I dream of a world where all girls and boys have their rights met, says Raby.
The girls made historical so-called “takeovers”, where they for a day took over the jobs of influential people; as Mayor of Paris, Minister of Sports and Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A revolution against discrimination and prejudice that holds girls back all over the world.
– I want to be a fantastic woman who fights for children’s rights, especially girls’, because I think I can be a role model for my sisters, cousins and other girls in my country, says Raby.
Facts about Guinea
Population: 12 million
Life expectancy: 59 years
Infant mortality rate: 58 per 1000 births
Proportion of children starting school: 75.1%
Proportion of women in parliament: 21.9%