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Centre Féminin d'Initiation et d'Apprentissage aux Métiers: girls against stereotypes

Centre Féminin d'Initiation et d'Apprentissage aux Métiers: girls against stereotypes
Centre Féminin d'Initiation et d'Apprentissage aux Métiers: girls against stereotypes

The Centre Féminin d'Initiation et d'Apprentissage aux Métiers (CFIAM) in Burkina Faso is challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes by providing girls with training in fields such as mechanics, electricity, and carpentry.

In Burkina Faso, a predominantly Muslim African country, societal expectations often confine women to domestic roles, primarily centered on child-rearing. Typically, girls' education is limited to elementary school, with many being pressured into arranged marriages or required to work to support their families. Burkina Faso has one of the highest child marriage rates globally, with one in two girls married before age 18 and one in ten before age 15. Families tend to prioritize investing in their sons' education over their daughters'.

CFIAM is combating these stereotypes and inequalities by offering training in traditionally male-dominated professions. Repairing cars, for example, has been considered exclusively a male profession in Burkina Faso. The high youth unemployment rate, especially among young women, has contributed to the rise of extremist Islamic ideologies and terrorism in the region, hindering progress. Since 1997, CFIAM has been working to break this tradition by providing young girls with training in car mechanics.

Bernard Zongo, the founder of the Tout pour Tous - Yennenga association, which created CFIAM, emphasizes the goal of combatting professional inequality that is prevalent in the country. The program involves rigorous eight-hour-a-day, six-days-a-week training, including subjects like math and the French language, along with intensive practical courses covering automotive electricity and body construction.

Currently, CFIAM has 200 students and is supported by the nonprofit organization Terre des Hommes Switzerland as part of a project aimed at enhancing the employability of young women in male-perceived trades and facilitating their integration into the labor market.

Addressing gender inequality not only fosters long-term social and economic development but also contributes to poverty reduction, enhances individuals' sense of self-worth and fulfillment, and combats issues such as crime, disease, and environmental degradation. Encouraging young women to break free from stereotypes and pursue tasks typically associated with men, such as car repair, promotes global equality and empowers women to be more self-sufficient. This, in turn, strengthens global society's commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and advances its progress and achievements.

More information: CFIANM


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