Changing the odds for girls in the DRC

– Feb 13, 2017

Emma Goldman

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Emma Goldman

Radio is often not what comes to mind when we think of innovative technologies, yet with it War Child has been able to create a cutting-edge and entirely new way to serve the fractured communities we work with. Almost one century after the first news broadcast went out on the radio, this medium is helping us change the odds for girls living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Indeed, in rural Uvira, Eastern DRC, it has become a lifeline to education. This World Radio Day we wanted to share the important ways radio continues to reach and enrich lives through our Radio-Based Learning program.

When our staff first met Marie, a 16-year-old girl from Uvira, without a secondary school near her home and facing the threat of sexual violence if she tried to travel to the next village, she was forced to drop out of school.

Sadly, in war-torn DRC, this is a story we hear all too often. The violent and ongoing conflict in the region has claimed over 5 million lives, left countless communities destroyed and infrastructures broken, making access to education virtually impossible—especially for girls. A shocking 7.5 million children in the DRC are currently out of school. 4 million of them are girls. Keeping girls in school past the primary level is particularly difficult. Forced marriage, child labor, poverty and the threat of sexual violence means that 71% of girls are not enrolled in secondary school and over 50% of women are illiterate.

“Turudi Shuleni!”—Let us go Back to School

 

Knowing we have to change the odds for girls like Marie from a life of poverty, illiteracy, child marriage and abuse to a life of opportunity, War Child created a portable, cheap and easily accessible way for students to get back in the classroom… right within their communities! To help put the power of education back in student’s hands, War Child launched an innovative Radio-Based Learning program in ten centers throughout Uvira. The lessons, created together with members of the Ministry of Education, are made specifically to target out-of-school girls and help them gain the skills to return to formal schooling or pursue a career. Through this program, over 300 students are now learning through the radio. 

“Before I could not understand what this education through the radio would look like! But now I understand it well and I appreciate it so much. … I get a good education, which will help me get a job when I get my diploma. From there my life will change.”

For every success story like Marie there are millions of girls in Eastern DRC and in conflict zones around the world without an opportunity to continue their education. This World Radio Day help us celebrate this extraordinary medium by making a donation. Together we will inspire students to carve out the future they deserve.

Categories: From The Field, Education,
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