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Our partner Association NEEED is based in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. A small, land-locked country that is frequently afflicted by political instability, fluctuations in economic performance, and, most recently, religious strife and terrorism, the UNDP estimated in 2015 that 63% of Burkina Faso's population is in severe poverty. One of the most serious challenges is access to education: Only ~2% of the adult population has some secondary education, compared with 20% for Sub-Saharan Africa as a region. It is in this difficult environment that Association NEEED works to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable parts of society, focusing on women and orphans from the poorest families in rural towns. For over 15 years, Association NEEED has helped the under-privileged achieve a sustainable future against overwhelming odds - McKinsey for Children is proud to support them in this capacity.

The idea

Association NEEED approached us with a proposal to provide a scholarship for women seeking vocation training opportunities. Young women, and especially orphaned women, often have little to no chance of gaining an educational foundation that leads to sustainable employment. Association NEEED recognized that vocational training is a viable means for many of these women to make real change and achieve an improvement in their outlooks.
The scholarship is anchored around a 2-3 year full-time formal training as either a teacher or a nurse. Not only are these desirable disciplines in the local employment market, but they create further benefits for local communities, as more teachers and nurses lead to broader access to education and healthcare. Recipients are carefully selected via a formal need- and merit-based application and screening process. After selection, Association NEEED accompanies recipients throughout the duration of their scholarship, managing food and shelter, and monitoring academic progress to ensure all participants are fulfilling the standards of the scholarship. The relationships with trainers, educators and teachers across various cities in Burkina Faso means Association NEEED is well-positioned to train and then place scholarship recipients after their scholarship is concluded. In past years, all recipients have found employment after their time.

Our contribution and relationship

McKinsey for Children has a long-standing relationship with Association NEEED, having supported multiple initiatives including the construction of a school building and many cohorts of scholarship recipients over the years. We are currently providing scholarships for over 50 young women that are undergoing vocational training programs and continue to have an active interest in the outcomes of our scholarship recipients. Our strong relationship and trust in the organization is built on Association NEEED's tireless director, Lacine Swagadogo, who has dedicated his life to improving the situation of under-privileged women and has fought for their success for over 20 years.