Situation at the start of the new school year
On 15 March, the Burkina Faso government announced the closure of all schools and universities in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. While students in exam years were able to return to class on 1 July, approximately 4.2 million children have been out of school for over six months due to COVID-19 containment measures, until the start of the new school year on 1 October (Education Cluster 18/06/2020, MENA 29/05/2020, Burkina24 27/05/2020).
350,000 children were out of school prior to COVID-19 in the context of conflict, displacement, and insecurity (UNHCR 08/08/2020, Education Cluster 30/06/2020).
Insecurity in Burkina Faso has led to the internal displacement of over 1 million people as of August 2020, including 544,000 children in need of education assistance (UNHCR 08/08/2020, Education Cluster 19/08/2020).
A deliberate effort by armed groups to stir up ethnic tensions have driven some Fulani to join their ranks, causing further stigmatisation of the wider Fulani community, and sometimes resulting in retaliatory attacks on Fulani villages.
About this report
This report is based on a review of publicly available information along with an interview of a key informant from a humanitarian organization in Burkina Faso. There are significant information gaps concerning the exposure of children to armed group recruitment. Since data on child recruitment in Burkina Faso is not available, the rationale in this analysis is built primarily on narrative reports.