In Democratic Republic of the Congo, many children from minority-marginalized groups suffer from injustice, difficulty-accessing school, and violence on their way to and at school as well as child marriage and labour. Missing out on an education will mean that students living with disabilities and those from marginalized groups will remain underrepresented in our future leaders.
Empowerment and Participation can enable youth and people living with disabilities and those form marginalized groups to have the knowledge and skills to behave responsibly and to play an active role in schools management and in community decision-making.
CERC actively sought the participation of students of marginalized minority groups that faced a variety of barriers and challenges due to their identity and systemic oppression in that context.
With the Student Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality project, CERC was integrated gender equality and social inclusion into every aspect of the Community Integrity Building program. Our partner schools was trained and supported to reduce inequalities and exclusion in education.
With this investment, we have empowered women, girls, and all individuals at risk of exclusion within the communities in which CERC works to actively participate in decision that affect their lives.
The students from the minority groups that engaged took on additional leadership roles within the Integrity Clubs were empowered by their participation and were able to monitor the delivery of education and infrastructure services in their schools and communities.
The participation had multiplier effects for those students, who, in many cases, were experiencing less exclusion due to their participation. Moreover, the participation of diverse youth strengthened the group.
Why it Worked
By providing a diverse base of youth the opportunity to engage with other youth and gain tangible skills, youth were incentivized to participate in decision-making in schools and in community level and had something to gain from the experience. The diversity of the Integrity Clubs strengthened participation and improved the benefits of participating for all students involved.
In addition, by creating a selective process for participation, engagement was framed as a privilege and opportunity and there was space to hand select a diverse and representative group that could benefit from engagement.
Also published on Medium.