Home-based literacy classes and vocational training in DRC

Some of the women supported by the project in DRC

Home-based literacy classes and vocational training

We are working with our local partner, FEDA, to support people living in some of the most marginalised and hard to reach communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The aim of the project is to promote literacy integrated with knowledge of civic rights, health issues and peacebuilding, and to empower women to earn their own income.

We are predominantly supporting household women and girls (15-45 years) who dropped out of school due to the impact of war, who have an extremely low literacy level and feel ashamed in attending public literacy classes, and the project will also support disabled women who missed out on education due to their vulnerability and lack of transportation options.

The project is now in its third phase over a three-year period from April 2017 – April 2018.

The project is using a home-based learning approach to respond to the conflict, reducing travel distance and safety risks (particularly for women in the evenings). This is due to the recent history of conflict and insecurity that has resulted in high rates of physical and sexual violence, mob rule and an ineffective response from law enforcement agencies in the absence of a reformed police force. This approach with small groups is also more flexible, allowing beneficiaries to attend to their domestic tasks. and also allowing for less confident and/or disabled individuals to participate.

Creation of soap making cooperatives is integrated alongside the home-based literacy classes, allowing for much needed income at the household level in a sustainable fashion; it is planned that each cooperative will become self-sufficient and able to continue after the project has finished.

Funding for this project was received for one year from GOAC/Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, and subsequently from the Diocese of Cashel, Ossory and Ferns through the Bishops’ Appeal Ireland for Year 2. Year 3 will also be funded through the Diocese. Year 1 activities were implemented from March 2015 to March 2016. Year 2 activities were implemented from April 2016 to April 2017. Year 3 activities will be implemented from April 2017 – April 2018.

"The project made a significant difference to my life. It provided me with respect. I can now read. And my involvement with soap production lifted me from extreme poverty."

Sijaona, project participant.