Internally displaced children get to go to new schools in Congo

In October, there were celebrations in Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo, as the education project supported by Finn Church Aid came to a completion. During the year-long project, 16 schools were repaired and 35 completely new classrooms were built. In addition, the project identified out-of-school children in IDP camps and the host community and encouraged the children back into primary education by financing ‘catch-up classes’ allowing them to be reintegrated into the correct school year.
The programme was funded by Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

  • Henri Tunga Kisamonyo, from the Ministry of primary, secondary and professional education (EPSP in the French acronym) rounding up the final ceremony that brought together all of the directors of the schools worked in. In addition, teachers, members of the Parents’ committees, students and traditional chiefs attended the ceremony. During the day, feedback on the project was gathered and presented by the different stake-holders. The learning exercise will help FCA and the partner to improve the approach to emergency education projects in future. In addition, it serves as a transparency mechanism ensuring that all stake-holders have the correct information on how the project was financed and what was achieved.

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  • Kisamonyo received a motorbike from the project in order to carry out supervision trips to the state, primary schools under their jurisdiction. The roads in the area are damaged extensively by rain each year and the movement of many military vehicles – both national army and rebel group – also take their toll. The distances that the ministry must cover are large and with little budgetary support from the central government, ministry employees find it difficult to visit the schools regularly to meet with teachers, directors, parents and students to ensure that the schools are well-run. “This will make my job a lot easier – we are very happy”, Henri Tunga Kisamonyo told FCA.

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  • Directors, teachers and parents attended the ceremony in Kitchanga in Masisi. Many schools in Kitchanga were destroyed during heavy fighting between government forces and the M23 rebel group in late 2012 and early 2013. The region has seen a lot of fighting in the past several years and the town is home to three large IDP camps.

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  • Class of children in one of the FCA-funded classrooms built during the project. Many schools in the area are built with plastic tarpaulins and during the rainy season, it is almost impossible to accommodate children for lessons.

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  • Children studying in primary school in Mungosi , which is located on the edge of IDP camp Kahe.

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  • Mungosi primary school during construction in July 2014.

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  • Kids overlook the camp next to an FCA school. This is the camp that is served by two of the schools FCA worked in during this project.

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  • School kids enjoying summer holidays in the courtyard of Gakika school in Masisi. The FCA-built classrooms, with green windows, can be seen on the right.

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  • Children peeking out of the window of a newly-built Gakika school in Masisi.

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Text and photos: Joseph Kay