Restoring stability to an unstable region.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is struggling with a fragile peace following a war that was considered to be one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.Read the stories
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is struggling with a fragile peace after years of conflict that claimed over 5.4 million lives, the majority of the victims being women and children. The war has been characterized as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and one of the most overlooked. Over 7.5 million children (ages 5-17) are not in school, 3.9 million of whom are girls. Retention of students, specifically girls, remains with obstacles including early forced marriage, domestic chores, child labor, poverty, and the tendency to prioritize male education.
This has long-term consequences: one out of every two women in the DRC is illiterate. War Child Canada assessments in the region showed that prominent child protection concerns include early and forced marriage, recruitment of children as child soldiers, forced labour, violence in schools and neglect. The most prominent concern noted was sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) including the rape, sexual harassment and exploitation of children.
War Child Canada has been working in South Kivu, DRC since 2005 alongside local partners including The Ministry of Education, community radio stations, local Congolese NGOs, women’s groups, and community leaders to improve awareness of human rights and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and access to safe and quality education.
In addition to ongoing programming as highlighted below, War Child Canada has completed assessment work in South Kivu that highlighted key immediate needs including: gender-based violence prevention and response programming including work that directly addresses early and forced marriage; child protection intervention inclusive of psychosocial support and strengthening of child protection systems; economic recovery and market systems, particularly for female farmers who specifically highlighted the need for new livelihoods development and microfinance support.
In a country that has been branded the worst place in the world to be a woman, gender and SGBV is a key consideration for programs that seek to increase access to safe and quality education. To address this, War Child Canada implements programs that recognize the threat of SGBV and the repercussions it can have on the education of a generation of girls.
In South Kivu, War Child Canada has rebuilt 38 schools destroyed as a result of conflict providing access to education for over 11,000 children annually.
Additionally, the organization has provided teacher training, ensuring not only adequate numbers but teachers trained on child-centred learning. Students were provided with education kits ensuring they had the materials necessary to participate and succeed in their classes.
Currently, War Child Canada is piloting an innovative approach to target out-of-school girls in conflict-affected communities through radio-based learning. As part of the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education, this pilot provides an alternative model of radio-based learning for girls who have no access to formal secondary schools due to household responsibilities, SGBV risks associated with walking long distances to school, high costs associated with education, a lack of well-trained teachers and escalating conflict. Educating the DRC’s children and youth is crucial to rebuilding local economies following decades of conflict.Donate
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The generosity of our donors allows War Child to continue protecting children and providing war-affected communities with educational, vocational and legal resources. We thank you in advance for your support.Donate