It is 10: 30 am, the recreation time at Kananda primary school in Fizi territory. It is raining, cloudy and cold but the rain cannot stop students and teachers to rejoice: singing and dancing as part of their recreation time.

Kananda Primary School is just one of 32 schools rehabilitated by NRC in South Kivu province. Due to roof damage from bullets, when it rained, students would have to suspend classes, as the inside of their classrooms would begin to flood. In addition, the sanitation infrastructure in the school and throughout the village was dilapidated or non-existent. Students were risking both their safety and health by using the crudely constructed latrines. Being that the latrines were uncovered, students were vulnerable to infections and water-borne diseases.

With Education Cannot Wait donor support, NRC has patched the damaged roof to ensure that classrooms, students and materials remain dry when it rains. Metallic doors and window frames were provided, and the school was repainted. Latrines were rebuilt and covered for conditions that are more sanitary. The learning environment has greatly improved and the number of enrolled students has increased from 240 students in 2018 to 340 students in April 2019.

To implement the Education Cannot Wait-funded project, NRC has collaborated with Danish Church Aid (DCA) and two national NGOs, Collectif ALPHA UJUVI and Caritas to rebuild destroyed schools, restore proper sanitation and water points in schools. NRC has provided notebooks, pens, pencils and other school materials to children and has trained teachers on psychosocial support. In addition, we paid the final examination fees for students in sixth grade and trained teachers on psychosocial support, Risk Reduction Plans and Training of Parent-Teacher Associations on Good Governance in Schools. 
In total, NRC education support has reached 14,000 of children whom the majority are displaced, returnee and destitute children from the community in South Kivu province.

This assistance, however, is only a drop in the ocean, seen the huge needs which are still uncovered in the province and the country. We need further efforts in term of funding so that we continue rebuilding destroyed schools; organise catch-up classes to help many children out of school to get access to quality education in a safe and protected environment.

April 26, 2019
Photo: Ephrem Chiruza/NRC
Rebuilding Schools in DR Congo

Hope for bullet-ridden classrooms

“The school was hit by several bullets during the attacks. Armed men used the school’s window frames and doors as firewood to cook their food,” recounts Headmaster Jerome Atembo.

Atembo’s school, Kananda Primary School, is located in a village sharing its name within the gold-rich province of South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Most residents subsist by farming or through artisanal gold mining on the outskirts of the village. In recent years, repeated clashes have broken out between armed groups representing either landowners or pastoralists. Between 2017 and 2018 this security situation significantly disrupted the lives and education of Kananda village’s students. In fact, in 2017, all students and teachers had fled due to multiple armed attacks. Today, though the security situation is still volatile, students and teachers have begun to return to their schools, only to find severely damaged schools and classrooms.  

Kananda village’s primary school was one of several to be damaged because of armed conflict in the DRC. Over the last two decades, the education of millions of Congolese children has been repeatedly interrupted by intercommunal conflict endemic to this side of the country. At least 7.4 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are out of school across the country. Many children live in remote and hard-to-reach communities like Kananda. Because of the inability to afford school fees, many have dropped out of school. 

To address the situation, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) works closely with conflict-affected communities to rebuild and rehabilitate damaged and destroyed schools, organise catch-up classes and train teachers to ensure children get access to a quality education.

Thirteen-year-old Francine is just one of the 14,000 children who benefited the NRC’s education programming in South Kivu’s southeastern Fizi territory. Everyday Francine attends Asifiwe Primary School in Kanada village in her crisp white shirt and navy blue skirt. During one of the armed attacks, militiamen killed her father. Since then, no one has been able to afford to pay for her education.  She was expelled from school due to non-payment of school fees and eventually had to drop out for a year. 

“My mother had no money to pay for school,” she says. “I had to stop going to school and help her farm the  field.” 

In early 2019, she attended the NRC’s catch-up class where she developed her French language skills, math and other subjects. She also received notebooks, pens, a ruler and pencils from the program.  Now Francine can read and write in basic French.

To implement the Education Cannot Wait-funded project, NRC has collaborated with Danish Church Aid (DCA) and two national NGOs, Collectif ALPHA UJUVI and Caritas to rebuild destroyed schools, restore proper sanitation and water points in schools. NRC has provided notebooks, pens, pencils and other school materials to children and has trained teachers on psychosocial support. In addition, we paid the final examination fees for students in sixth grade and trained teachers on psychosocial support, Risk Reduction Plans and Training of Parent-Teacher Associations on Good Governance in Schools. 

In total, NRC education support has reached 14,000 of children whom the majority are displaced, returnee and destitute children from the community in South Kivu province.

This assistance, however, is only a drop in the ocean, seen the huge needs which are still uncovered in the province and the country. We need further efforts in term of funding so that we continue rebuilding destroyed schools; organise catch-up classes to help many children out of school to get access to quality education in a safe and protected environment.

April 26, 2019
Photo: Ephrem Chiruza/NRC
Read caption Thirteen-year-old Francine is one of the 14,000 children to benefit from NRC’s education programming in South Kivu’s south-eastern Fizi territory. Photo: Ephrem Chiruza/NRC

Back to school

In her crisp white shirt and navy-blue skirt, thirteen-year-old Francine proudly walks to Asifiwe Primary School in Kananda village. She is one of the 14,000 children to benefit from NRC’s education programming in South Kivu’s south-eastern Fizi territory. In 2018, Francine’s father was killed by militia men in an attack on the village. Since then, no one was able to pay for her education and she was expelled from school because of non-payment of school fees and eventually had to drop out for a year.

"My mother had no money to pay for school,” she says. "I had to stop going to school and help her farm the field."

However, in early 2019, she attended the NRC’s catch-up classes where she developed her French language skills, along with math and other subjects. She also received school supplies such as notebooks, rulers, and pens and pencils from the program. Today Francine can read and write in French at an elementary level.

Kananda Primary School is just one of 32 schools rehabilitated by NRC in South Kivu province. Due to roof damage from bullets, when it rained, students would have to suspend classes, as the inside of their classrooms would begin to flood. In addition, the sanitation infrastructure in the school and throughout the village was dilapidated or non-existent. Students were risking both their safety and health by using the crudely constructed latrines. Being that the latrines were uncovered, students were vulnerable to infections and water-borne diseases.

With Education Cannot Wait donor support, NRC has patched the damaged roof to ensure that classrooms, students and materials remain dry when it rains. Metallic doors and window frames were provided, and the school was repainted. Latrines were rebuilt and covered for conditions that are more sanitary. The learning environment has greatly improved and the number of enrolled students has increased from 240 students in 2018 to 340 students in April 2019.  

This assistance, however, is only a drop in the ocean.  There are huge needs, which are still unaddressed within the province and throughout the country. We need further funding efforts so that we can continue rebuilding destroyed schools, organise catch-up classes to help children out of school so that they can access quality education in a safe and protected environment.

April 26, 2019
Photo: Ephrem Chiruza/NRC
Read caption The Norwegian Refugee Council works closely with conflict-affected communities to rebuild and rehabilitate damaged and destroyed schools, organise catch-up classes and train teachers to ensure children get access to a quality education. Photo: Ephrem Chiruza/NRC

Rebuilding classrooms, rebuilding lives

Because of roof damage from bullets, when it rained, classes in Kananda primary school would have to be suspended, as the inside of their classrooms would begin to flood. In addition, the sanitation infrastructure in the school and throughout the village was dilapidated or non-existent. Students risked their safety and health by using the crudely constructed, uncovered latrines.

With the support of Education Cannot Wait, NRC patched the damaged roof to ensure that classrooms, students and materials would remain dry when it rains. Metallic doors and window frames were provided, and the school was repainted. Latrines were rebuilt and covered for conditions that are more sanitary. The learning environment has greatly improved and the number of enrolled students has increased from 240 students in 2018 to 340 students in April 2019.

Kananda Primary School is just one of 32 schools rehabilitated by NRC in South Kivu province. This assistance, however, is only a drop in the ocean. There are huge needs, which are still unaddressed within the province and throughout the country. We need further funding efforts so that we can continue rebuilding destroyed schools, organise catch-up classes to help children out of school so that they can access quality education in a safe and protected environment. 

Facts

NRC collaborated with Danish Church Aid (DCA) and two national NGOs, Collectif ALPHA UJUVI and Caritas, to implement the Education Cannot Wait-funded project. Through this project NRC rebuilt destroyed schools and restored proper sanitation and water points in schools. NRC also provided notebooks, pens, pencils and other school materials to children and has trained teachers on psychosocial support. In addition, NRC paid the final examination fees for some students in sixth grade and organised trainings for teachers on risk reduction plans as well as a training of Parent-Teacher Associations on good governance in schools.