Educating girls saves lives and builds stronger families, communities and economies

Equal access to quality education is vital for the future of her country and the wider world. It is the key to sustainable development. However, achieving quality education remains a challenge. 

Around the world girls suffer from injustice, difficulty accessing school, violence on their way to and at school as well as child marriage and labour. Missing out on an education will mean that girls and women will remain underrepresented in our future leaders. 

Education allows a better life. It is indispensable for ending the generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides the means to achieve sustainable development.

Quality education can enable girls and boys to have the knowledge and skills to behave responsibly and to play an active role in social, economic and political decision-making. 

When an educated child goes from adolescence to adulthood, they have a better chance of growing into an adult who can and will give back to society.  

If more children receive a quality education, they are more likely to send their children to school and help to end the cycle of missing out on an education. 

Since 2017, Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption – through its NORAD-funded project “Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality” – spreads awareness and campaigns for the achievement of the education and gender equality goals set by the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (quality education) and 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

The aim of campaigns organised by the Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption is to sensitise parents, decision-makers, opinion leaders and civil society to their effective and efficient commitment to get girls to schools, including those living with disabilities. 

Equal access to education and quality education for all can help address the deeply entrenched and often sexist inequalities in our societies. 

Education for all requires all children to go to school without discrimination. The government must give children the right to education and free primary education, as stipulated in the country’s constitution. 

It is also one of the regulatory provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – the right to education. 

It is an inalienable right, it is an inescapable right, it is a sacred right that must not be mortgaged, it is a fundamental right that opens the doors of life to the human being.

It is a right that is more than a right. It is a right that must be respected.

Integrity Club convinced school officials to build extra toilets and classrooms

Access to education is a major challenge for children living in South Kivu. Children living in rural areas study in poor conditions. Schools are overcrowded and often lack equipment, water and sanitation facilities, and adequate teaching and learning materials.

In October 2017, Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption launched an initiative to improve education in South-Kivu by engaging young people through Integrity club. CERC established 35 Integrity Clubs in Uvira and trained 525 students were trained as community monitors to ensure quality education accessible to all children.

CERC is an independent organization that works with young people to build integrity and good governance in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. With the help of young community monitors, CERC ensures that the funds allocated for community projects are properly distributed so that the projects benefit the intended beneficiaries.

CERC’s training on Community Integrity Building (CIB) enables monitors to assess quality and availability of equipment and infrastructure, performance of the teaching team, collect evidence, conduct beneficiary surveys, verify findings as well as engage with stakeholders such as head teacher, parent committee and teachers association to fix problems.

To ensure that the school deliver a better education and improve its infrastructures so that student learn in acceptable conditions, 15 monitors from Institut Itara trained by CERC have been monitoring their school since February 2018.

In April 2018, community monitors discovered that the school’s infrastructure was dirty and dangerous. They also discovered that school facilities could not cope with the demand. This meant that the school had only three washrooms for 590 students and that some classrooms were overcrowded. The school’s ability to ensure better access to education has been seriously compromised, putting students at risk.

A new toilets completed after community monitors convinced school officials to build extra-toilets.

After the community monitors reported the problem to School management, In April 2014, the school management has immediately undertook to repair the broken desks and the construction of a block of three classrooms. After a Joint Working Group meeting in August 2018 gathered the community monitors, parents’ committee, the school management committee, and CERC, they also undertook the construction of 8 washrooms including those of the girls.

In October 2018, the new classrooms were completed and a block of eight latrines is under construction, while the school continues fundraising to rehabilitate other classrooms.

As a result, students in improved schools are now benefiting from better sanitary facilities and constructed classrooms with enough space to fit all students on the school benches.