Emergency education in the Central African Republic
The ongoing war has greatly affected the education sector in the Central African Republic. Children have difficulty accessing basic education, given the limited means of their parents to pay school fees and the lack of functional schools. Cordaid has launched an emergency education project in the northwest of the country, in the sub-prefectures of Bocaranga and Koui in Ouham Pendé and the sub-prefecture of Bouar in Nana Mambére.
In those regions, schools have been targeted by armed groups and many have fallen into disrepair. Of more than 449 schools in the area, only 321 are functional at this moment, according to the latest information from government education authorities.
This is a result of limited resources allocated by the Education Ministry for teachers’ salaries and infrastructure repairs. Also, parents are often unable to afford the school fees that keep schools operational.
Humanitarian aid and education
Cordaid’s new project aims to support schools in these fragile contexts and to support teachers and the communities in which students live. The Humanitarian Aid and Education units of Cordaid have mobilized and combined their expertise to launch this pilot project that integrates aspects of results-based financing (RBF) with humanitarian assistance to support 10,800 highly vulnerable children and adolescents.
This emergency education intervention will include the following elements:
- Assure access to education for vulnerable children;
- provide educational materials and school furniture;
- repair damaged schools;
- reinforce the capacity of local teachers and school directors to assure and monitor the quality of teaching;
- assist the community to improve the school environment and to promote the enrollment of out-of-school children and adolescents (including young girls and young mothers);
- create school canteens that serve meals made with produce from school gardens.
The RBF approach entails paying schools for pre-agreed achievements on enrollment of children and quality of the learning environment, following verification of results by different stakeholders (including parents) to enhance community participation and transparency.
This approach promotes ownership and sustainability of the educational improvements that the project aims to achieve. At the same time, emergency educational needs will be addressed through targeting of the most vulnerable out-of-school children and adolescents and ensuring that the school buildings and supplies meet minimum standards for a safe and appropriate education. A cash-for-work approach will be used to further implicate the community in building repair and the planting and tending of school gardens.
Eager to participate
Local government authorities and school directors present at a community project launch meeting were enthusiastic about the project and eager to participate. They voiced their desire for the government to take a more active role in the education sector in rural areas. Students’ parents underscored to local authorities the importance of promoting security to enable their children to study in a peaceful environment.
With an increasing number of out-of-school children and adolescents in the northwestern region of the Central African Republic, investing in education has become a priority.