Democratic Republic of the Congo
The recent history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been marked by civil war and dubbed by some observers as 'Africa's world war'. It is claimed that up to six million lives have been lost either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. The war has also left huge educational challenges in the country.
On-going inter-ethnic violence and insecurity in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, in particular, have caused large-scale displacement over the past several years. The conflict has also seen the active targeting of education and many school buildings have been destroyed, leaving children out of school.
We are currently working in two areas within DRC. The first is the South Kivu Plateau – a mountainous region on the east side of the country – which suffered some of the worst violence during the civil war. While much of DRC now enjoys relative peace, there is on-going violence in this remote region, fueled by illegal mining of precious metals. Communities have been displaced and schools destroyed leaving children out of school, yet few organizations work in this remote region because it is so difficult to access.
The second location of our work is Lusenda, which sits on the border with Burundi. On-going violence in Burundi has caused many thousands of Burundians to flee their homes, and 33,000 refugees having adopted Lusenda as their home. Local Congolese schools are overstretched and many refugee children are missing out on quality education.
What We Do
On the South Kivu Plateau we are applying our proven model to revitalize the education system and improve communities’ ability to support their children’s education. We are taking a multi-level approach that includes teacher training, school quality management, engaging parents, removing economic barriers to education, and tackling barriers that prevent disadvantaged girls in particular from receiving education.
In Lusenda where schools are overstretched, particularly at high school level, we are building schools and training teachers to cope with the influx of refugee children. Our teacher training includes methods to identify and support pupils suffering trauma. As many Burundian refugee children fled their homes with nothing, to support them in returning to school, we are providing young Burundian refugees with school materials, shoes and uniforms.
In total we aim to support 20,000 children in DRC over the coming years.