UNICEF’s “Young People’s Agenda” reinforces strategies to ensure that every young person is in school, training or work before 2030. Discussions between young people are essential to making this strategy work, because they best understand the problems and aspirations of their generation. Malagasy youth have taken the lead to share, to discover new horizons and explore new initiatives in the hope of a better future.
Let Us Learn program
The education system in Madagascar has been severely hampered by extreme poverty, with problems related to both access and quality. In terms of access, more than a quarter of Malagasy children are currently excluded from formal education programs. One in three girls becomes pregnant before the age of eighteen, which complicates education.
The integrated program for adolescents is a retention and prevention strategy. The program creates opportunities for vulnerable and excluded girls and boys to realize their right to education in a safe and protective environment. It focuses on the three pillars of equity: reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls’ education, and improving quality outcomes for learners.
I would like to become a pilot; and having talked with Mirado, who is a pilot himself, encouraged me to continue my studies to make my dream come true.
– Jimex, 14, a student at Tsararano Middle School
Currently implemented in seven regions in Madagascar — Vatovavy Fitovonany, Atsimo Andrefana, Boeny, Analanjirofo, Atsimo Atsinanana, Anosy and Androy — the Let Us Learn program is cost-effective, efficient and has a wide reach. In addition to the direct education, the program also aims for child protection interventions to improve the prevention and responses to child abuse and exploitation, including child protection, sexual exploitation and child marriage.
To meet the teenagers benefiting from the Let Us Learn (LUL) program, five youth celebrities traveled from the capital Antananarivo to the Boeny and Analanjirofo regions. These meetings, organized by UNICEF Madagascar and its partners were part of the promotion of the program and aimed at helping young people in rural and disadvantaged areas continue their studies. By sharing their life experiences, successes and stories, the young celebrities offered hope to the local students. On the one hand, the discussions allowed the students to discover new experiences through the experiences of others. On the other it provided new sources of inspiration for their future.
Abela Ralaivita is Media Production Officer at UNICEF Madagascar.