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.
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.
March 5, 2018
January 26, 2018
This week, the Newsday team from the BBC World Service has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While there, they caught up with our team and one of the students from our radio education program. Watch her inspiring video here and then make a donation to help support this remarkable program! You can also…
September 6, 2016
For millions of kids across North America, “back to school” means a chance to replenish last year’s stationary, score a handful of new clothing, and invest in a state-of-the-art laptop or tablet (lest he or she falls too far behind using last year’s model). For young girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), “back to school” can mean facing…
July 20, 2016
Uvira is a small but bustling town in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that extends down the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The town itself is nestled in the foothills of one of Eastern DRC’s many mountain ranges. It’s here that War Child has been implementing a radio-based education program that provides young girls who…
December 1, 2015
“It’s important that I know how to read and write because the school might send me a note to come and meet with them about my children but I could not read it so I would not go.” I met Esperence coincidentally. I was in a village meeting with the Chief and community members about…
October 8, 2015
“I want to finish my education so I be President of the country and I can stop the war!” she said excitedly. “Well Madame President,” I said, “I think that sounds like an excellent idea.” I was sitting with a group of girls and their mothers in Eastern, Democratic Republic of the Congo talking about…
November 21, 2012
DONATE TODAY! The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) made the news this week, as rebels took one of the country’s largest cities – Goma in the east of the country – in a sudden escalation of a violent insurgency that has been terrorizing the regions civilian population for months. Goma is strategically important, as it…
September 25, 2012
Some sentences stop you in your tracks. “When we returned we found our house burnt down and bones scattered around. I imagine they were my father and brother’s.” Marianne was just an infant when they came. She has little memory of it but her mother has told her what happened. They killed her father and…
November 28, 2011
Today marks an important day for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is Election Day and people are going to the polls. In the Congo, this takes real courage. On the eve of the election, Sunday evening, ten civilians were already reported dead. This is a democratic vote but while widespread corruption and violence abound,…
August 10, 2011
Tis’ the season for gardens, fresh produce and green thumbs. In May, my colleague and I, Linda, traveled to the Congo and took it upon ourselves to plant a garden on our day off, Sunday. I learned my lesson the first week there and knew that I couldn’t, unlike the Congolese, handle more than two hours…
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