University students went out on the streets of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa, during one week, gathering petitions to promote education for all children in the world.
“We started campaigning on Monday, January 20, and midway into the week we collected over 16,000 sign ups,” says Emmanuel Amegnito, associate regional director and regional liaison for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in the West Africa Division. “Friday, January 24 was the International Day of Education, and it was fitting for us to celebrate the day with a sermon on Sabbath. Dr. Juvénal Balisasa, WAD education department director, preached a message entitled ‘Every Children Everywhere in School’, and following the service, roughly 1,500 people went out into six districts of Abidjan to get sign ups.”
On Sunday, January 26, more than 250 young people, along with WAD’s president and division officers, visited Yopougon, the biggest community in Abidjan, going door to door to talk about the Adventist Church and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s joint campaign.
“The day concluded with a big parade by our youth in celebration of the weeklong endeavor,” Amegnito says. “When we tallied the results for the weeklong event, we got over 62,000 signatures.” He added that prior to the emphasis week on education, 17,000 additional signatures were collected, so in total, over 80,000 petitions were signed.
Amegnito, a native from West Africa, believes in the value of education, but many people don’t share his conviction.
“Education is important but is difficult to implement, especially in countries like Chad, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania, which are the poorest countries in Africa. Education is not promoted in those countries and the communities, which are mainly Muslim, unfortunately believe that the only place a girl belongs is marriage or at home,” he says.
Since those countries are experiencing political and economic difficulties that have worked adversely, many of the children don’t have access to school to learn the basics, he added. Additionally, many children he says are orphans who don’t have the means to go to school and are without hope.