Guinea Bissau is a country which has been affected by intense political upheaval, where the health services are extremely insufficient, and access to education is far from satisfactory. Handicap International implements projects intended to ensure provisions are made to allow children with disabilities to attend school.
© C. Acworth / Handicap International
Handicap International is currently working on two education projects in Guinea Bissau. The aim is to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in the school system and to allow them to benefit from teaching adapted to their needs. The organisation therefore works to raise the education authorities' awareness of the importance of including these children in schools.
As well as these awareness-raising activities, Handicap International also works to ensure children with disabilities to enjoy the same rights as all other children. The organisation provides training for teachers and directors at 12 partner schools, as well as school inspectors working in the four sectors of the Oio region. It identifies children with disabilities who are attending school, and those who are not in education and are at home with their families. It can also make adaptations to school buildings (accessible toilet facilities and drinking water), encourages families to officially register their children, and raises the population's awareness of the importance of preventing violence against children.
Handicap International has been working in Guinea-Bissau since 2000. The first projects were in the fields of functional rehabilitation, the economic inclusion of people with disabilities and the campaign against landmines and explosive remnants of war. Handicap International suspended its operations in the country from 2008 - 2014, due to the political unrest and security risks.
Guinea Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world. Affected by chronic instability, the country has undergone a series of coups over the last twenty years.
The government formed after the 2014 presidential elections has launched a range of reforms. However, the country faces many challenges: Guinea-Bissau has a high rate of diseases related to malnutrition, in particular in pregnant women, which explains the high levels of mother and child mortality.
Health services are understaffed and staff are insufficiently qualified meaning these services are significantly underdeveloped. The education sector is no exception to the rule either - just 64% of children reached the end of their primary education in 2010. Life expectancy at birth is 54.3 years at best, and the annual income per inhabitant is just over $1,000 US dollars.