By Isaac Broune
Oct. 22, 2020 | ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire (UM News)
The Côte d’Ivoire United Methodist Church is planning to help build schools in the Central African Republic.
Côte d’Ivoire Bishop Benjamin Boni and Central African Republic Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Lydie Flore Magba signed an agreement for technical and economic cooperation in education on Oct. 8 at the Jubilee Temple of Cocody in Abidjan.
“When the church invests in education, it sends the message that the life that Jesus gives is not only about the kingdom to come but also about the present,” Boni said.
He praised the Central African government’s efforts to improve the lives of its people.
This collaboration aims to replicate the United Methodist schools model of Côte d’Ivoire by building, among other things, 12 school complexes in 12 cities ranging from preschool to secondary school, each with a health center, a canteen and a place of worship.
“We want to care for each child at all levels,” said Lazare Kouassi, director-general of the United Methodist Schools in Côte d’Ivoire.
The project is expected to take five years and is estimated to cost nearly $165 million U.S. The government already has made 124 hectares (about 306 acres) of land available. The government will take care of the schooling of 60% of the children, and support one-third of the total cost. The rest will come from outside partners.
The Côte d’Ivoire church will help design curriculum, share best practices and assist with the management of the schools, according to the memorandum of understanding.
The education system of the United Methodist Church in Côte d’Ivoire is organized around a structure called the General Directorate of the United Methodist Schools. It has 97 schools, including 36 preschools, 53 elementary schools and eight secondary schools.