Million’s children in Democratic Republic of the Congo schools were being educated in infrastructures that did not meet minimum norms and standards. Secondary schools in Uvira are struggling to provide adequate educational facilities for children. This means that children are forced to study in buildings built in the 1990s that lack everything: proper toilets, running water, libraries, and adequate teaching materials. This is a fundamental problem, as the quality of school facilities is linked to the academic performance of students and teachers.
Students-led monitoring and advocacy as a creative way to change the status quo
A lack of effective students’ engagement often results in a mismatch between what the education service is trying to achieve, and student’s needs. Students-led monitoring initiative in South-Kivu is helping to improve the delivery of education services and strengthen accountability between students, communities, and education sector decision-makers.
To ensure the school meets minimum education standards, since April 2018, 300 monitors in twenty secondary schools have been trained and equipped by CERC to monitor the implementation of educational services and the quality of infrastructure in their respective schools. CERC’s training in Community Integrity Building enables monitors to analyse school performance, take photos of the services, conduct beneficiary surveys, verify findings as well as engage with stakeholders such as headteacher and parents committee to fix problems.
In June 2018, two months after they were trained and started follow-up activities using the training and tools they received, monitors from these twenty partner schools discovered several serious problems with the school’s facilities. A frequent problem found in all schools was the lack of adequate toilet facilities that could not meet the demand and that they were not cleaned regularly. The monitoring results also showed that fifteen schools lacked running water. This means that students did not wash their hands after using the restroom and missed drinking water at school.
From that time onwards, these monitors raised problems and recommendations with their school officials. Through this constructive engagement, these students have been able to influence the change in their schools, ensuring that additional classrooms built, poor facilities are rehabilitated, toilets built, desks repaired and leaking tiles replaced.
To date, fifteen secondary schools monitored are now using water in the toilets, spraying them with the danger of hand-dirty disease. In addition to this, the three school is in the process of having new toilets and classrooms thanks to the commitment of the community young monitors.
Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption have been an Integrity Action partner since 2017. During this time, CERC have trained three hundred youth as community monitors. The monitors have overseen twenty-one infrastructure projects and education services valued at around $32,000,000. Their interventions have led to the resolution of 20% of identified problems. CERC and the Integrity Club members’ monitoring and constructive engagement has improved services for around 10,000 people