Canchungo is a small city located in the Cacheu region in northern Guinea-Bissau and has a population of roughly 7000 people.
Situated between two rivers, it is a major producer of oil palm vegetables for export.
Rice cultivation, subsistence agriculture and fishing are the main local economic activities.
In many rural areas infrastructure, such as health services and schools, are not sufficiently available. This can negatively affect the health and wellbeing of children.
Since 2007, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Canchungo.
Over the past few years, Guinea-Bissau has made great strides to improve water and sanitation facilities. Yet more work is to be done, especially because climate change has a big impact on rain patterns and water levels. Water resources are worsening, which has a negative impact on the access to safe drinking water for children and their families.
Access to safe water and sanitation is important for the health of children. Poor water and sanitation is the main cause for many diseases, such as cholera and other diarrheal diseases, which remain one of the leading causes of death for young children.
A third of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are considered “out-of-school children” which means that they either never entered school or started and later dropped out. This has many reasons. For example, many children have to repeat a grade or drop out to help their parents in the house or on the fields.
Children up to the age of five are usually socialized at home and in the communities. Only a small percentage of children attend pre-primary education.
Schools receive insufficient funding for quality education and physical school buildings and textbooks don’t meet acceptable standards.