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.

Addressing stigma and discrimination in Education

Taking action against stigma and discrimination is essential for achieving Millennium Development Goals. Acts of discrimination in all its form deny people’s rights to information, to appropriate education and health services, and to participate meaningfully in community actions.

In Democratic Republic of the Congo as in other post-conflict countries, fear of stigmatization and discrimination discourages children from parent living with HIV, epileptic children, ex-child soldier, child with psychological problems, children born of a raped mother, pregnant schoolchildren, raped schoolchildren, and other discriminate groups seeking information and participate in community actions. We will not achieve Universal Access to Education and Health without reducing stigma and discrimination.

At CERC, we are tackling stigma and discrimination through a range of activities such as:

  • Promote CERC programming against stigma and discrimination.
  • Creating an awareness of what stigma is and the community benefits of reducing it.
  • Promote awareness and action among other stakeholders: local leaders, Parents’ committees, School management bodies and other local CSOs;
  • Engage religious congregations to initiate awareness raising and education activities through appropriate sermons to raise the awareness of the faithful in this regard.
  • Integrate the notion of stigma into Integrity Clubs, and address the topic not only with students, but also with parent members and teachers at the meetings.
  • Regularly integrate topics on discrimination in radio broadcasts, through dedicated programs, guests of the day, and voluntary testimonies of victims.
  • Promote the dissemination and repetition of the anti-discrimination message on the radio/TV through short messages, advertisements, and targeted jingles.
  • Providing the skills to challenge stigma and change behavior and advocate for and support meaningful participation of children from parent living with HIV, epileptic children, child with psychological problems, children born of a raped mother, pregnant schoolchildren, raped schoolchildren, and other discriminate groups in decision-making, policymaking and other processes related to the education response.
  • Engage a range of local leaders, Parents’ committees and School management bodies, Government ministries, including Social Affairs, Health and Education, in discussions. Additionally, national human rights commissions, Parliamentary Committees, and Donors have important roles to play to end discrimination in education sector.

We are greatly confident that these activities will have a positive effect in increasing the education and participation rate of stigmatized and discriminated children thus enabling them to advocate for the problems that affect their lives.

CERC established integrity clubs in 20 selected secondary schools in Uvira

Le Centre de Recherche sur Anti-Corruption “CERC” has established Integrity Clubs in 20 secondary schools in Uvira territory in the South-Kivu Province. This effort forms part of the activities under the “Student acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality (SHINE) Project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through Integrity Action and its being implemented in 5 countries, including DRC, Nepal, Occupied Territory of Palestine, Afghanistan and Kenya..

This Project aims to promote among school children a civic character that will result into positive civic engagement that promotes integrity and good governance.

This year, In DRC, the project is being implemented in 20 schools across Uvira city within South Kivu province. In all the selected schools 300 trained students are expected to become Community monitors in championing accountability, competence, ethic, inclusion as well anti-corruption behaviours in their schools and their community as whole.

Since April 2017, CERC has been conducting activities in schools and in community benefiting young people between the ages of 14–19. Young people in schools set up Integrity Clubs that are referred as an independent students forum that engage in various activities that include but are not limited to public speaking, mentoring sessions and public services delivery monitoring. The Integrity Club comprises of not more than 18 pupils.

The clubs are led by a commettee of 5 members elected democratically by others students. The IC leaders use the Integrity Club manual that was developed by the Integrity Action. A brief perusal of the manual shows that it contains assignments that the club is expected to conduct. Amongst these assignments is the Community Integrity Building, where the students invite a role model in monitoring transparency and effectiveness of public services and development projects implemented within their community.

Indeed, Integrity Clubs represent an ideal platform for youth empowerment and character building in nurturing an integrity culture. It is hoped that the 20 established ICs in secondary schools will contribute in fostering a corrupt-free society.

To attain more effectiveness in our endeavor, it is a prerequisite that all stakeholders engaged in this venture (such as Head-teachers, IC facilitators and IC members) join forces together for more coordinated and impactful actions.

CERC is proud to share their new Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Strategy (GESI) for 2017–2021.

This document defines a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) strategy for Integrity Action for 2016–2021. With this strategy, CERC seeks to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion are integrated into all aspects of their work and that their partners are supported to reduce inequalities and exclusion.

Read the full document here: Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Strategy (GESI) for 2017–2021.