Hélène et Thomas Chassaing fr / en

Health and Education in Rural West Africa


In 2010 and 2011, over a period of 8 months, I made a trip by bicycle of over 7,000 km that took me from Dakar to Ouagadougou, with the aim of better documenting the activity of agriculture, its problems, its aspirations, the stakes and the perspective of the rural world.

Being a nurse by training, when I arrived in a village and had no address I often went to the municipal health clinic to ask for lodging. I made the same appeal to village chiefs, farmers, priests, teachers. The idea occurred to me to organize a collection of images, Health and Education, along the lines of the books by Esther Duflo* «Le développement humain - Lutter contre la pauvreté (1)» from which I have taken the first paragraph of the introduction:

"In few issues do you find as much agreement as in health and education, both as values and as factors in economic growth. Among economists, Amartya Sen is one of the most supportive of their primal importance. For him, health and education are the capacities or, according to his expression, the “capabilities” essential for the development of human life, without which the notions of liberty and well-being make no sense. Under his influence, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) created in 1990 an “index of human development”, meant to eventually replace gross domestic product as a measure of a nation’s development. This index is the average of four indicators: life expectancy, literacy rate, gross enrollment ratio and per capita income. Health and education represent three quarters."