School dropout, a brake on emancipation, empowerment and parity to girls in rural areas of South Kivu in DRC

Posted November 2, 2015 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

As part of its commitments to gender equality and the advancement of women's rights, Action Solidaire et Paysanne en Afrique "ASP-AFRIK" a non profit association is particularly committed to education for girls and enalphabete women .

Reducing the gender gap in primary education is one of the greatest successes of the initiative "Education for All" in 2000 (the share of girls out of school has declined from 58% to 53% in ten years in developing countries). In the DRC, in our rural areas we have not yet achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2015. Girls are still too many (32%) not to complete a full cycle of education . Two out of three girls 11 to 15 years old were out of school in 2012 in the village of BUSHI, Burega BUHAVU and South Kivu.


Factors contributing to early graduation for girls, one of the key is poverty. Various fees, uniforms, books, bus rides can make the same expensive school when education is free especially when the family has many children? when it considers that the aid can make a girl for the cleaning, cooking, fetching water and wood, caring for young children, and how slim the chances are that girl Aura to find gainful work although she completes her studies risk a poor family hard to judge that the game is not worth the effort. It is most often that the girls school is removed.

Even for those who remain, the burden of domestic work interferes with academic progress. According to a study in primary schools Burhinyi, the poor performance of girls for domestic work their main cause, the time it absorbs and fatigue it causes.

To prevent girls from going to school, traditional factors join to poverty, the most influential is probably the idea that he must give the instruction to boys because they have to earn bread their families and support their old parents. Is considered girls' work even longer and harder, is less likely to make money at home. Furthermore, in cultures or marriage equates the woman to the husband's family, parents are less likely to pay more education for girls.

Yet if they are asked, many families say they would like to see their daughters educated. Many girls stay at home not because of poverty or cultural intransigence of the parents, but because they do not consider it appropriate education available to their daughters, or because they feel the risks too important.

These risks are real: sexual harassment, rape and sometimes by classmates or teachers, or on the way to school. In many countries they are the main reason for low enrollment and retention of girls in school. If the classes are overcrowded, poorly supervised children, indisplin├ęs and violent boys, many girls feel threatened, and many parents fear for their safety. If there is no local or class dedicated to them, teach that all are men, if the school is too far from home or the community, the girls are leaving. A study has shown that educating girls fell to just 30% if the schools were located three kilometers or more from home, but over 70% if the distance was less than one kilometer. Again, poverty plays a role. Modesty, propriety, forced to stay at home the poor girls who do not have adequate clothing. The onset of menstruation may be the end of their schooling for girls who do not have proper sanitary protection or whose schools do not have separate toilets for girls and boys.

And the government nor the development agencies which, in their decisions on the education of girls, held on behalf of the many desired needs, risks and fears of children and their families.

The ASP-AFRIK pays particular attention to reducing inequalities between girls and boys at all levels of education (primary, secondary, or vocational) that are open to girls the same opportunities as boys and they are considered as true actors of development.

Maintaining girls from 11 to 15 years in the education system is a decisive factor for development and a key element of their emancipation. The studies we have done show the impact of girls' schooling on access to health, including maternal, the decline in early and forced marriages, limiting the spread of HIV / AIDS and access to their autonomy economic. Adolescent girls who complete secondary school are four times fewer children as young school girls.

The ASP-AFRIK mobilized in the fight against gender violence in schools.

A draft legal clinic was established to highlight the issue of gender violence in schools, dropout and school failure factor for girls. This project seeks to make visible this problem by leveraging available data on gender violence and its consequences in our rural areas.

Recommendations to the fight against impunity of perpetrators of violence and strengthen preventive measures and support for victims were compiled in a report "in rural schools gender violence in South Kivu province DRC: Understanding its impact on girls' schooling to better fight them. "

Surveys we conducted in 2014 in all eight territories that make up the rural areas of South Kivu point out that many girls face violence on the way to school and in school. The violence, often sexual, perpetrated by students or by teachers in exchange for better grades. Moreover, here, over a third of girls aged 20-24 years say they contracted marriage at the age of 14-16 years. Marriages and early pregnancies generate the schooling of girls from school.

Thus, we have subscribed to the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan of the Global Partnership for Education (SME) identifies the guarantee of a "safe and supportive learning environment for knowledge acquisition" as a key condition for maintaining and success girls at school.

Gender violence must be taken into account in education policies at several levels: 1) Prevention: by decent working conditions for teachers, provision of secure transportation, teacher recruitment trained and aware of gender issues, the establishment of conditions favorable to the recruitment of female teachers; 2) The identification and management of violence: the violence detection mechanisms and medical and psychological care and mediation with families should be offered. The associations of parents can play an important role in this regard; 3) The criminalization of acts of violence: perpetrators of violence and especially the teachers must not go unpunished. Appropriate sanctions must be defined and implemented; 4) More broadly, increasing the legal age of marriage and the fight against early marriages is a key lever of universal schooling.

Today, the weak capacities of gender education actors and girls' education, lack of knowledge and data on gender violence in schools and the lack of coordination at national and provincial prevent a real consideration of the dimension of gender violence in educational policy.

ASP-AFRIK has organized, with SOS Jeunesse en Danger a provincial workshop in Bukavu, from 18 to 20 June 2015, which aimed to serve as advocacy tools and capacity building of state actors and non-state actors and that working on gender violence in schools, to allow a better consideration of gender violence in schools in sector planning.

The workshop helped to highlight best practices experienced by the different participants in the South Kivu province to think more globally in a strategy to fight against gender violence in rural schools which contributes efficiently to education quality of girls in rural areas.

Some answers to these problems

1) the supply of financial benefit to families who allow their daughters to school until a specified class; 2) the development of another type de'education to try to teach a larger number of girls the basic element of reading, writing, numeracy and everyday life; 3) information campaigns on importane of training for girls etc ...

Comments 2

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  • Sarah Murali
    Nov 02, 2015
    Nov 02, 2015

    Hello Espoir Mugaruka,

    Thank you for posting this very important story. Educating girls is so important for them to have choices in life, to care for themselves, and to care for their countries. It is their basic human right to have access to a safe and high quality education. It is also in the best interest of their countries as educating girls has been shown to raise the GDP of a country and improve their economic health.

    Educating girls has so many positive impacts, for the girls and their communities. We simply must make it happen.

    There is a great organization called Girl Rising that is also working on this issue. I thought you might like to visit their website since you are working on the same issue. I hope it is useful to you.

    Thank you again for sharing this important story! I would be curious to hear more about what schools, governments, or individuals in your community are doing to overcome the obstacles you have mentioned here. Perhaps others can also share what has been successful in their communities.

    In support,


    Nov 06, 2015
    Nov 06, 2015

    Hi dear Sarah, I am very happy to read your comments about our article posted. Your point of view is really encouraging. I had to visit the website of Girl Rising and I assure you that their activities have edified me and I was are interested.

    in terms of our government, I would say it does nothing to end the abandonment of girl in school. This is because it is the parents that support teachers. Yet most families live in poverty in our villages. This poverty is caused by wars in repetition, the cattle looting, the Mozaique which devastated the plants in the fields. You understand that the fai that parents pay the premium to the teacher, it encourages illiteracy, corruption, poor quality of education, sexual violence in schools and gender discrimination. Because parents lack means to send only boys to school and let the girls do the domestic work and force them to marry.

    As for me and my organization we ASP-AFRIK, we support the payment of school fees for girls that we write to primary school. We have loads of girls in primary school MAKWALE, KARHALA and BIREMA to Burhinyi. We support school fees for 300 girls in primary school. We distribute goats to each family that girls continue their secondary studies.

    We have major projects in Mashi language literacy for girls who subut forced marriage; we'd like to start it at the beginning of the year 2016 but we have the difficulty of financing.