the ongoing conflict, over 7.3 million children in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) are not in school, 3.9 million of whom are girls. Only 60% of
girls complete primary school and 35% complete lower secondary school.
Reasons include inability to pay school fees, lack of sanitation facilities,
early marriage, and safety risks for girls involved in travelling long
distances to reach schools. War Child Canada believes that using radio-based
education can address these barriers.
Child Canada has tested an innovative approach to secondary level education
using Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) for vulnerable girls aged 12-16 in
While IRI is traditionally used to supplement formal education within
schools, War Child Canada adapted IRI for distance education. Students gather
in their communities five times a week to participate in the lessons,
reducing barriers to girls’ education. Classes are facilitated by Education
Assistants (all from local communities) who completed training in IRI
teaching methodology, child protection, and facilitation techniques.
Community Education Committees provide ongoing classroom support, promote
girls’ right to education and aid in the monitoring and evaluation of
classes. This community-driven approach creates a supportive environment
where girls can receive quality education. An external evaluation concluded
that this model encourages enrolling girls in school and increasing
mobilization of community support for girls' education.
The pilot reached 300 learners, with over 80% successfully completing the
program and receiving transcripts for Standards 1 and 2 (the first two grades
of high/secondary school) from the DRC’s Ministry of Education, allowing them
to re-enroll into the formal school system at the next level, where possible.
Students and parents voiced their support of the project, “This is my
daughter’s last chance to finish high school and get her diploma."
Maggy, a 16 year old girl and student participating in War Child Canada’s IRI
program. ”I dropped out of my studies since my father had decided to enroll
my brothers first. My salvation was the arrival of War Child Canada’s
radio-program in my village. I’m impatiently waiting for the reopening of the
IRI centre.” Girls depend on the free and safe educational approach to learn
and will not be able to continue their studies unless the IRI program
includes all grades of high school (Standards 1-6).
This project will target 1,000 out-of-school girls aged 12-18 in eastern
DRC, a population that, due to their age and gender, is among the most
vulnerable in the country. During the feedback phase, experts and communities
expressed the desire to include boys in the programming as well. While this
project will still focus on girls' education, moving forward the needs of
boys will also be considered and incorporated into project design to ensure
increased access to education for all.
Mission and Vision
Child envisions a world where no child knows war. War Child’s mission is to help children in war-affected communities reclaim
their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice.
War Child, in conjunction with local Congolese organizations, the Ministry of Education, radio stations, and community members in South Kivu province, is rebuilding education infrastructure by repairing and reopening schools, offering child-focused programming, and training teachers.
War Child Canada uses an institutionalized monitoring strategy for all its programs in conflict states. The strategy includes performance indicators and measurement tools to assess basic learning outcomes, program quality, enrolment, and learner satisfaction. Additional tools are being used for the IRI project to assess the quality of the lessons and broadcasts, facilitator quality, student satisfaction and the applicability of the overall model for scale-up and replication.
project promotes a community-based education to increasing girlsâ€™ access to
education. Firstly, it will provide educational opportunities within
communities and supported by communities, eliminating the need for girls to
walk long distances. Secondly, it will operate on a flexible schedule that
has been designed - through community assessments - around the girlsâ€™ daily
schedules and seasonal calendars. Thirdly, it will work directly with
communities to identify not only safe spaces for girls™ education but also
local Education Assistants whom the community will play a role in selecting.
Additionally, as classes are radio based, if conflict escalates and
communities/families are displaced, they can continue listening to the
classes from their new location.
Finally, to ensure sustainability and to address root causes of gender
inequality in education, communities are engaged in the importance of
education, particularly for girls, through extensive outreach.
Planned Goals and Milestones
War Child Canada targets project activities in hard-to-reach and under-served communities. Community consultations, consultations with local partners, community mapping, baseline surveys, and the development of needs-based/vulnerability selection criteria are all approaches used by War Child Canada to ensure that the program is accessible to vulnerable populations and that they are effective at reaching target populations.
War Child Canada has been established in the DRC since 2005, with initial program activities focused on school rehabilitation and teacher training. The program has evolved to provide catch-up learning to conflict-affected children to enable them to re-enter school, radio and journalism activities for children and youth, literacy programs for women, and community outreach on the importance of education.