After two and a half days spent in the province of Moxico, this morning we flew back to Luanda.
From the airport we directly went to a school in Viana, a very extended suburban area of the city where thousands of people live in barracks.
The road to get there really made an impression on us: from a wide and chaotic lane full of traffic, we suddenly turned into a thick and long muddy street full of holes and dunes. What surprised us the most was to see, in the middle of a capital city, the same things that we saw outside Luena in the poor rural areas—but amplified.
From the windows of our vehicle, we saw an absolute poverty: mountains of garbage, abandoned cars, crumbling shops and barracks, countless children playing, working and walking alone on the street.
In the middle of all of this there was the school that, in the recent past, followed the UNICEF programme. Now it is slowly walking on its own legs. Despite the common issues of Angolan schools (lack of teachers, infrastructures and resources), we could clearly witness the benefits of the programme in terms of teacher training, awareness about children’s rights and sanitation.
We spent some amazing hours with the kids telling them about Italy and playing a Portuguese version of our Italian game “Un, due, tre… Stella!” On our way back, we couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the basics are still missing in all the schools we visited during these days.
We kept wondering how these gaps can be filled and how these needs can be met and, in the afternoon, we had the chance to meet somebody to discuss about it with. This person was Joao Cafuquena, National Director of General Education, who gave us the chance to ask questions about the education projects and strategies of the government in the country.
He gave us a general introduction about the goals they have, answering our questions about the school development strategy in all the provinces of Angola, a plan to increase the low budget currently allocated for education and all the issues we met in our visits.
Then he told us about a country which is on its knees due to the decreasing value of oil exportation. This crisis ran over most of the sectors, and made the allocation for education decrease to 7.7% (the previous goal was around 12%). This had significant consequences, not only on infrastructures and basic resources, but also on the number of teachers who could be hired, compromising the chance to reach every child in Angola.
Out of that big room it’s become even clearer how important the roles of the IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and the government are. The IKEA Foundation provides funding support and spreads stories all over the world, UNICEF stimulates change with concrete projects, and the government is the main actor. It is even more important for all of them to work as a team that aims to lead the future of this country.