The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the African nation of Côte d’Ivoire opened a primary school in the northwest town of Borotou-Koro, Bafing region, on February 7, 2019. Government, local, and church officials attended the opening event in the town, located about 800 km (500 miles) northwest of the city of Abidjan. Regional church leaders made the trip north to be part of the inauguration ceremonies.
Funded by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Adventist College of Abidjan, the West-Central Africa Division (WAD), and the Borotou-Koro Adventist church, the school is expected to draw hundreds of applicants for places in the first three classrooms. Three more classrooms will be available soon.
Total investment amounted to $46,500, leaders reported.
Speaking on behalf of WAD church region president Elie Weick-Dido, WAD Personal Ministries and Evangelism director Same Vincent drew the attendees’ attention to the importance of enrolling children in the Adventist educational system and invited Adventist education leaders to take good care of the school.
“You must make good use of what you inaugurate today, because unfortunately we know how to inaugurate but not to maintain,” Vincent said. “To my fellow teachers, I encourage you [to show] more determination and love in the training of children, by developing all their faculties and prepare them to make a difference in a world of degeneration.”
For Côte d’Ivoire Conference president Thio T. Narcisse, teaching is sacred, and those who engage in that profession must do so with love and faith because they prepare the future leaders of our societies, he said. It means, among other things, that we should not play around with this vocation, he added.
“The school is a specialized institution for providing education, renewing and perpetuating society. This is why the school was made free and compulsory by [national] authorities to reach 100 percent schooling,” Narcisse explained. “The [Adventist Church] built this school to make its contribution and support this great government initiative.”
Koro Sub-Prefect Béné Kouakou Jean-Louis thanked the Adventist Church for its vision for the students of Borotou-Koro. Faced with the ever-increasing demand for educational infrastructure, this school is not only relieving parents in Borotou-Koro but also the Côte d’Ivoire government, he said.
According to Jean-Louis, “It is a good initiative because it is part of the government's policy — compulsory school for all children,” he said. “Our country is vast, and the government cannot meet all the needs and satisfy everyone. The problems are many, and all private initiatives to support the government in its development policy are welcome.”
Most of the 25,000 residents of Borotou-Koro are part of the local agricultural sector, and many work in the local sugar refinery complex. In that region, 85 percent of the population follows the Muslim faith. Church leaders said they hope that this new emphasis in education will help the Adventist Church to reach out and share Bible values with the local population.
Modeste Kounandy, director of human resources at Sucre Ivoire and an elder at the Borotou-Koro church, said he was thankful to God and all the donors who contributed to make this project to come about. “Passion and determination led everything and supported the completion of the project; we worked hard, and God blessed our efforts. I can only say ‘Thank You, Lord,’ ” he said.