In 2005, the 12 year civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis ended and a successful Presidential election was achieved, bringing hope for a new era of peace and development. Peace has allowed 60,000 refugees to return to their homes. Meanwhile, the number of internally displaced persons in camps decreased from 145,000 in 2004 to 117,000 in 2005 (source: UNICEF)
State of Education in post-conflict Burundi
The new government of Burundi removed the barrier to education by lifting the requirement to pay school fees. This opened the door for many more children to attend school, but the influx of new students has strained the capacity of Burundi’s education system. Despite the best efforts of the government, there simply are not enough school buildings, text-books and teachers to cope with the demand for education. Class sizes have ballooned, with up to 150 students per teacher, leading to concerns about quality of instruction (Source: IRIN, BBC).
The mission of Education Progress is to promote and improve access to quality, basic education, adapted to the specific needs of children and teachers in fragile states. Our aim in Burundi is to work closely with the Ministry of Education, donor agencies and local communities to raise the quality of primary education, including through improved teacher training.
Through our efforts, we aim to build peace through education.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
According to the International Crisis Group, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the site of one of the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crises. Although the country emerged from what has been called “Africa’s first world war” in 2003 when the former warring belligerents came together to form a transitional government, credible mortality studies estimate that up to 1,200 people continue to die each day from conflict-related causes, mostly disease and malnutrition but ongoing violence as well.
Over two million people have been uprooted by ongoing violence. Resettlement is hampered by lack of food and basic infrastructure due to the destructions of hospitals, schools and railroads etc. Children are particularly affected as they are vulnerable not only to violent attacks, but also to disease and hunger. Many of them are forced into participating in conflict. Children of displaced families have little or no access to education, either because the family has no money to pay school fees or because there are no schools operating in or near displacement camps. In the struggle to stay alive, children are forced to work (Source: Human Rights Watch: Africa).
State of education
According to UNICEF, school enrolment rates in the DRC are declining. More than 4.4 million children (nearly half the school-age population) are not in school. This number includes 2.5 million girls and 400,000 displaced children. As people return to their villages, they find they do not have functioning schools, qualified teachers or adequate supplies.
The focus of our efforts is to support these people in rebuilding their lives. We aim to work in close cooperation with the Government, local communities and implementing donors and agencies in the reconstruction efforts, including by promoting the education of girls, helping to reintegrate children and families into their communities, and providing counseling to children who have experienced conflict.
Armed conflict between the government (concentrated in the south) and the rebel Forces Nouvelles (which control, primarily in the north) has continued for several years. UN peacekeepers patrol a buffer zone in between, maintaining a tenuous situation described as ‘No Peace, No War’. Thousands of people have fled their homes, most taking refuge in government-controlled areas, overwhelming the health and education services available there. Cote d’Ivoire’s infant and under-five mortality rates are among the highest in the world, and rising. An estimated 7 per cent of the population is HIV-positive. (Source: UNICEF)
State of Education
According to UNICEF, two thirds of the boys in Cote d’Ivoire, but only half of the girls are enrolled in primary school. Almost a million children, most of them in the north, do not attend school at all.
Our organization aims to promote community-based post-conflict reconstruction and development in Cote d”Ivoire, focusing on efforts to improve access to quality education at the primary level.