UNESCO launches construction and rehabilitation of schools programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province

The UNESCO Representative in the DRC, Mr. Diallo Abdourahamane, together with government officials from Goma and Rutshuru, has recently launched a school construction and rehabilitation programme.

The present project, funded by the Government of Japan, is part of UNESCO’s broader Programme of Emergency Support to the Education system in Rutshuru Territory in the North Kivu province, which has been implemented since July 2014.

The launching ceremony was held in presence of government and educational officials from the North Kivu, teachers, parents and local implementing partners (companies and NGOs). The event placed a special focus on building a culture of peace through education and on involving partners and communities to supporting all planned activities.

As a result of armed conflict, the territory of Rutshuru has suffered massive population displacement and tremendous destruction of infrastructure, including schools. The peace agreement of December 2013 created the conditions for supporting stabilization efforts in the region. In the extreme fragility of the current environment, UNESCO with the financial support of the Government of Japan, focuses on fostering stability and peace through education by rehabilitating school infrastructure, improving the quality of learning and building community capacity.

The project aims at:

- Rehabilitation of 30 semi-permanent classrooms in five schools, including three primary schools and two institutes;

- Production of 545 school desks for equipment of different schools targeted by the project and beyond;

- Distribution of educational materials for teachers and classroom supplies;

- Training of 90 teachers on Peace Education and Psycho-social support techniques for children affected by armed conflict;

- Sensitization of parents' committees to their role in ensuring a safe (better protected) school infrastructure.

More importantly, in order to tackle a major challenge of project sustainability in the developing countries, the project involves both, local authorities and communities, including students, in all of its implementation phases.