The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) adopted a policy of fee-free primary education during the 2019-2020 school year, enabling over 4.5 million children to join school. Nevertheless, over 7 million children ages 5–17 remain out of school. Significant disparities persist between genders, ethnic groups, geographic zones, and socioeconomic groups. With the increase in enrollment and no corresponding increase in hiring qualified teachers, classrooms are overcrowded, and quality of instruction remains a challenge.
Through the USAID Let’s Learn Together! (LLT) activity, EDC seeks to increase the accessibility, quality, and inclusivity of education in the provinces of Équateur, Maniema, Tanganyika, and Kinshasa in DRC. LLT aims to ensure that children ages 6–9 from marginalized and vulnerable populations—including the Batwa Indigenous group, girls, and children with disabilities—gain foundational literacy and social and emotional learning (SEL) skills to enable them to succeed in school at a grade 2 level or above.
The project is carrying out the following activities:
- Collaborate with community leaders, parents’ committees, and school management committees to enroll children into formal and non-formal learning pathways and support the retention of students
- Adapt existing teaching and learning materials (TLMs) in both formal and non-formal schools to improve quality, enhance learning gains, and incorporate content and language resources relevant to the Batwa and Bantu communities
- Use interactive audio instruction (IAI) to provide high-quality, learner-centered literacy and SEL content to promote continuity of education and system resilience
- Implement SEL curriculum that helps teachers promote positive, nurturing learning environments and teach students about bullying, discrimination, and harassment
- Implement a social and behavior change campaign within the communities to facilitate anti-discrimination messaging, reduce tension between groups in support of their children’s education, and address attitudes toward violence against girls
- Provide school-based training and support to promote specialized and inclusive teaching approaches and materials for children with disabilities
- The project will support 170 communities spread over two cohorts through teacher coaching, IAI, adapted reading and writing materials that increase learner awareness of SEL and inclusion, and the training of Parent Teachers Associations.
- The project’s programming will reach, on average per year of implementation, 13,600 learners and students across grades 1 and 2 and level 1 in remedial education program.
- The project will establish community libraries in all 170 communities, where LLT-trained community volunteers will facilitate some of the 46 IAI lessons developed by the project (available in both Lingala and Kiswahili), the SEL activities, and the read-aloud story time to vulnerable children in and out of the formal school system.
- To strengthen resilience at the local level, the project will train 1,020 community members on contingency planning to ensure continuity of learning in the event of a crisis.
- The project will provide adult literacy training to 425 parents to enable them to support their children’s education.
- In 2023, the project produced and distributed 7,810 TLMs, as well as distributed 23,600 donated children’s books, to schools and community libraries.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Alfalit International