Partnering with Communauté Baptiste Au Centre de l’Afrique (CBCA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, DRC has been politically unstable for decades due to its vast resources and other geopolitical issues in the region. In 2016, the Human Development Index ranked the country’s level of human development as 176 out of 187 countries with 73% of the population living on less than $1.9/day, with the most extreme poverty concentrated in North and South Kivu. DRC has been experiencing epidemiological shocks, first outbreaks of Ebola, and now COVID-19. As of 21 April 2021, DRC has had 29,084 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 748 deaths. In North and South Kivu, this health situation has meant that 18 million children have interrupted their studies, and this implies a risk of long-term school drop-out. School closures have exposed girls to: increased early pregnancies and increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence and increased risk of unintended pregnancy.
There exists today a digital divide, as lower-income countries fall behind in their capacity to support blended learning and, importantly in the context of COVID-19, remote learning options. As of 2020, less than 30% of Sub-Saharan African countries were using ICT in schools. As governments in the region are increasingly looking for technological solutions, affordable open platforms are an important partner in achieving inclusion and equity goals. According to the Brookings Institute, this disparity has been even more pronounced during COVID lockdowns, where unlike in high income countries where students could continue studies during lockdown through online means, only 11% of students in Sub-Saharan Africa had access to any form of online or blended learning. DRC ranks 145 of 187 countries in access to the internet.
Learning for Humanity and Communauté Baptiste Au Centre de l’Afrique (CBCA) Schools are partnered to implement Tusitawi in CBCA’s 792 schools. This life-altering educational revolution will transform learning for 230,000 students and over 8,600 teachers in 4 of DRC’s provinces – North Kivu, South Kivu, Eastern Province and Maniema. As well, Tusitawi will be implemented in CBCA’s recuperation centres – facilities where out of school adults and youth can access in-person alternative learning opportunities.
The pilot project (2021 to early 2022) is occurring in North Kivu, at 2 schools in Goma (Institut Himbi and Institut Visoke) and 1 recuperation centre (Visoke Recuperation Centre, Goma).