UNICEF and its partners are collaborating with governments and communities now in 13 sub-Saharan African countries – Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe – to create schools that offer a safe environment where children can learn, play and have access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

Schools for Africa aims to support UNICEF education programmes in the 13 SFA countries, which include the following areas of intervention: early childhood development; access and retention to quality primary basic education; non-formal education; HIV prevention in schools; education in emergencies. The Child-Friendly Schools approach and principles are at the heart of UNICEF's education work in each of these areas of intervention and what we refer to as the "centerpiece of UNICEf's work towards a quality education for all".

SFA Phase III is benefiting more children through:

  • Schools with improved classroom buildings and equipment.

  • Schools with safe water and improved sanitation facilities for girls and boys.

  • Schools with other facilities (e.g. play areas, libraries, gardens, etc.)

  • Schools providing Life Skills education (incl. HIV prevention, health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, counselling, sports for development, landmine education, disaster risk reduction etc.)

  • Schools receiving teaching and learning materials (including books, pencils, desks, chairs, recreation kits etc.)

  • Schools with community participation in school management.

  • Schools with trained teachers/facilitators/heads (in-service and pre-service training) to provide children with quality education and basic life skills.

  • Other interventions (health check-ups & immunization, mobile theatre and community radio activities led by the children themselves to sensitise their communities and achieve behaviour change, tree planting, scholarships, etc.)

  • Give a stimulating start in life to children below 5. Children benefiting from early learning opportunities are more likely to stay in school and perform well.

  • Policy/upstream work to scale up Child-Friendly schools nationwide in order to achieve greater impact by benefiting children in all schools. While SFA seeks to move this agenda forward through projects in selected regions/provinces/districts in each country, the experience can benefit the entire education system when the vision is transformed into a national vision.

Schools for Africa emphasizes the concept of Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) focused on the needs of children, so that more pupils are motivated to complete at least primary education. The programme also pays special attention to girls, orphans and other vulnerable groups who are at higher risk of dropping out.

In addition to providing a solid grounding in reading, writing and arithmetic, the Child-Friendly School Curriculum also prioritizes life skills, health education, and the setting up of youth clubs to provide information on prevention and protection from HIV/AIDS.

UNICEF strives to help national governments scale up the implementation of Child-Friendly Schools, so that local successes can be replicated, many times over, accross the countries benefiting ALL children.

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To achieve our goals, we need to raise US$80 million. We've already attracted a great deal of corporate, government and individual support - but we need more funding.

You can help us empower Africa's children to take control of their future.

Schools for Africa is a key building block in UN efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 2 - Universal Primary Education.

Children raise their hands in class at the UNICEF-supported primary school in rural Murambinda Growth Point in the eastern Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe. © Giacomo Pirozzi
© UNICEF Community members helping to build the school, Mozambique. © UNICEF
© UNICEF Two girls wash their hands at an outdoor tap at the Catholic primary school in the village of Busamana, about 30 km from the town of Gisenyi, in Western Province, Rwanda. © Giacomo Pirozzi
© UNICEF Trained teachers, Mozambique. © Giacomo Pirozzi