Education for Baka

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Baka children in school
© Fidelis Manga

WHY A PROJECT ON THE BAKA CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO EDUCATION

Our project aims to improve education among children of the indigenous Baka people around the TRIDOM and the TNS transboundary national parks. 
 
The Baka’s living conditions have deteriorated in recent years, and their culture is in danger of being lost. The forest resources they depend on for food, medicine and shelter have been depleted, and many have been forced out of the forests where they have lived for generations. Promoting the development of the Baka and their socio-economic integration in this changing world is a big challenge.
 
Catholic Church NGOs are working to provide basic social services for the Baka, including health and education). A number of specific initiatives have been undertaken to educate Baka children, including that of APPEC (Association for the self-promotion of the people of Eastern Cameroon). 
But so far the situation has not changed much: fewer than five Baka children have sat the Baccalaureat examination.
 

Our Vision

Improve the education of Baka children by 2020.
 

Objective

Propose an innovative strategic approach that reconciles the demands of formal schooling and those of the “school of the forest”.
 
 
© Fidelis Manga
Working session with Baka
© Fidelis Manga
 
© Michael Goldwater
Baka women returning from plantation activities
© Michael Goldwater

Our strategic intervention avenues

 
We have identified two strategic intervention avenues:
 
AVENUE I: Raising awareness and social mobilization.
- Involve more Baka people in the educational process.
- Develop and validate an educational strategy for Baka children at national level.
- Involve more regional and local authorities in educational and socio-economic processes.
- Sensitize host populations (Bantu) on the need for equitable relations with the Baka.
 
AVENUE II: Improving the provision of education to vulnerable indigenous Baka peoples.
- Further adapt the content of official curricula to the socio-cultural context of the Baka.
- Enrich teaching methods and techniques while adapting them to the socio-cultural context of the Baka.
- Teach in Baka language alongside French.
- Adapt the school calendar to the seasonal mobility of the Baka people.
 
What we are doing:
Collecting baseline data, literature review and brainstorming on the stakes and challenges of formal and informal education in Baka communities.
Proposing an innovative strategic approach for the education of Baka children.
Communicating the project’s outputs.

Specific Objectives


a) Facilitate the development of educational infrastructure in areas with high concentration of Baka people.
b) Provide incentives to encourage the retention of qualified teachers in these areas.
c) Adapt school activities to the socio-cultural lifestyle of the Baka (school calendar, language of instruction, illustrations in textbooks, etc.)
d) Strongly involve decentralized local authorities in the education of Baka children.
e) Encourage Baka parents to allow their children go to school. 
f) Involve Baka parents in the schooling of their boy and girl children. 
g) Raise awareness of the Bantu populations living close to the Baka on the need for balanced socio-economic relations between the two groups.
h) Develop multifaceted and effective partnerships to support the Baka.
 
© Fidelis Manga
Benjamin Mpongo
© Fidelis Manga
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Discussion with a group of Baka women
© Fidelis Manga
 
© Fidelis Manga
Baka kids
© Fidelis Manga