The Ilomba Centre: a rural gem

Women and children at the Ilomba Centre of health education 2018

In Cote d’Ivoire, we work with the Ilomba Centre, a multi-functional centre and clinic which hosts various health and education programmes.

The Ilomba Centre is located in rural Bingerville, about an hour’s drive from Abidjan. Since its creation, the Ilomba Centre has treated on average 3,500 people per year, while also providing educational programmes for women in health and sanitation as well as vocational training programmes. 

The main areas of activity at the centre are:

  • Clinic and primary health outreach, focusing on mothers and babies, and elderly people who are not mobile enough to access essential care.
  • Literacy Programmes for women, often in combination with livelihood courses.
  • A rural school, providing education to girls aged 11-19 who have dropped out of mainstream school. 
Ilomba Centre of health education  2018

The clinic is open three days a week and provides a range of healthcare: pre-natal and post-natal care, monitoring the development of infants, outreach and care for the elderly. It also provides healthcare training, particularly for mothers, on nutrition, hygiene and prevention of transmittable diseases.

In 2016, they had 575 children appointments and 1,000 adult appointments. While the clinic has a strong presence within the community, a boost in resources would not only increase opening times of the clinic but would allow staff to be able to develop a lab to test quickly and efficiently for common diseases, as well as offer ultrasounds to expectant mothers to identify and reduce risks during pregnancy and childbirth. 

The educational centre provides vocational training courses which enable women to become financially independent. As well as studying literacy and numeracy courses, women can take courses in dressmaking, entrepreneurship and patisserie.

Ilomba Centre of health education  2018

The rural school provides an ideal environment for girls to study, with a capacity of up to 30 pupils. Girls’ enrollment levels are lower than boys, and this area saw many girls dropping out of school during the civil war. Ilomba teachers provide formal education which is combined with vocational classes. Girls are encouraged to develop small food production businesses alongside their studies, which generates an income, benefiting them and their families and overcoming many of the pressures they regularly face to abandon their education. All students benefit from mentoring, should they want to.

There are three cycles:

  1. Entry level
  2. Working towards Certificat d’Etudes Primaires Elémentaires (CEPE) or Primary leaving certificate
  3. Preparation for Brevet d’étude du Premier Cycle (BEPC) which is approximately equivalent to GCSE level. These are combined with food preparation classes to provide the girls with a source of income. After completion of the BEPC, the girls can attend the private secondary school in the region, which is, however, 10km away and must be paid for

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