UNESCO Learning City of Mayo-Baléo improves living conditions through education
Poverty, the availability of educational facilities, health and sanitary infrastructure, as well as basic infrastructure to support the local economy, are severe challenges in the UNESCO Learning City of Mayo-Baléo, located in the department of Faro-et-Déo in Cameroon’s Adamawa Region. Its learning city strategy is directed at improving these conditions and empowering citizens by creating an environment conducive to the participation of individuals and communities in local development processes.
‘Our main mission is to improve the living conditions of our people through community development that is participatory and inclusive, based on the education and training of all, without discrimination, and respecting the natural environment,’ says ABBA, the Mayor of Mayo-Baléo.
Formal adult education centres and non-formal learning centres have been built across the commune to enhance learning opportunities for all. Despite budgetary constraints, the city has made great efforts to maintain and equip them appropriately. Ensuring easy access to the centres is essential for raising levels of literacy and education. Even though further developments are still necessary, ABBA is confident that ‘the development of our commune as a learning city is proof that we are moving forward on the right track’.
The council of Mayo-Baléo has agreed on a communal development plan that was drafted in consultation with local stakeholders, focusing on environmental issues and public health, increasing the number of classrooms in schools and making full use of existing educational materials. Involving relevant stakeholders in the drafting was the beginning of an intensive continuous exchange on topics important to the commune.
During the celebration of International Day of Education 2020, the Council of Mayo-Baléo will further follow this participatory approach by hosting a roundtable with teachers, learners of primaries and secondary schools, representatives of the non-formal education sector, and political authorities. Strategies for tackling the remaining challenges of the learning city will be discussed and solutions developed especially in regard to reaching nomadic and displaces populations living in the city. Recommendations that will result from the discussions will be presented to the board of councillors of Mayo-Baléo.
A UNESCO Learning City is a city that never stops learning. International Day of Education provides another opportunity for the Council of Mayo-Baléo to learn from all lifelong learning stakeholders in their city and jointly develop strategies to shape the future.
About the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
Learning cities are key drivers to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They promote good policy and practice, and foster sustainable development at various levels, notably through lifelong learning. The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, coordinated by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, supports and improves the practice of lifelong learning in member cities by promoting policy dialogue and peer learning, documenting effective strategies and good practice, fostering partnerships, providing capacity development, and developing tools and instruments to design, implement and monitor learning cities strategies.