DR Congo

Progress Report: Women’s Rights and Literacy in eastern Congo

News and Press Release
Originally published

Recently War Child undertook a project to reach girls and mothers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in need of basic literacy classes, as well as communities that would benefit most from increased awareness about child and women's rights.

For a young girl growing up in the DRC, a proper education can seem like a fantasy. Half of all women there are illiterate. The list of obstacles blocking their way is a long one – early and forced marriage, child labour, recruitment by armed groups and severe poverty are just a small sampling. Of the girls that do attend primary school, only 46% move on to secondary.

Working in this particular region of the DRC is never easy. Years of fighting have had a devastating impact on women and children, both in terms of sexual violence and rights violations. On top of this, many mothers are carrying a tremendous economic burden, often acting as the sole provider for the family when men are killed, severely injured or otherwise absent.

Yet – this project offered hope. In just 6 months we can proudly report:

  • Eight safe learning spaces established for women and girls.
  • 75% of women graduated with new reading and writing skills.
  • Over 5,300 reached with large-scale woman’s rights promotion.
  • Nearly 600 participated in small-scale community dialogues.
  • 160 local leaders report that programs were valuable to the community.

In the words of the participants –

“We learned a lot of things and are now convinced that the world cannot develop without the woman.” - Literacy training participant, level III, South Kivu.

“We were illiterate, but now we’ve started to read and write. We know that we have the same rights as men.” – Literacy training participant, level I, South Kivu