Aflatoun International – Child Social and Financial Education

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Partner of the Week: Village D’Espoire, DRC

Posted in Blogs on June 20, 2023

Village D’Espoire is a women’s organisation from the Democratic Republic of the Congo founded in 2016 and specialised in risk communication; protection and empowerment of women and children; peace building; inclusive education; child protection and food and economic security. They operate in South Kivu, North Kivu, Tanganyika, Ituri and Tshopo.  

Under a spiraling humanitarian crisis in South Kivu and North Kivu, the mission of Village D’Espoire is “to build on divergent traditional knowledge and socio-cultural practices to propose innovative, attractive approaches to inclusive development. 

The escalating crisis has been confronted with continued efforts to ensure inclusive education to displaced children and families on the move. Village D’Espoire engages in efforts to ensure child protection through cultural activities, art therapy, mobile community videos that capture the stories of families in the refugee camp. Collaborative action creates visibility and most importantly, by collaborating with other local organisations, they provide vocational training and quality education to displaced children and youth.  

The PAMOJA Project: Addressing Educational and Protection Needs of Displaced Children in the Wake of Armed Conflict

In the wake of the escalating armed violence in the country, numerous families have been forced to flee their homes, embarking on arduous journeys . Seeking safety in open sites located in Nyiragongo, parents are accompanied by their children, subjecting them to the harsh realities of displacement. However, amidst this dire situation, the Village D’Espoire,  has taken decisive action to ensure that the education of these children remains uninterrupted. Through their innovative project, PAMOJA (meaning ‘together’), they are providing vital child protection and inclusive educational support to internally displaced children affected by this humanitarian crisis.   

Through the implementation of PAMOJA, 4,520 children have been successfully re-integrated into schools, allowing them to regain a sense of normalcy amidst the crisis. Furthermore, their resilience has been nurtured, equipping them with vital life skills, necessary for their development and future success. Located in Nyiragongo territory, these schools are providing a safe haven for displaced children. 

Under the project’s comprehensive “Education” component, PAMOJA has prioritized the training of 110 teachers from both internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and host schools.  

Additionally, school, recreational, wash, and intimate hygiene kits were distributed to ensure that children have access to the necessary supplies for their educational growth.   

Moreover, the PAMOJA project recognises the importance of community involvement, and actively strengthens child protection mechanisms within IDP sites and host schools. This includes the establishment of play spaces, social mobilization efforts, and the training of community-child protection networks. By involving the community, the project creates a nurturing environment for children to thrive and grow. 

Our Partnership 

Village D’Espoire implements our Social and Financial Education (SFE) curricula for different age groups through the contextualised Aflateen+ and AflaYouth material. As a result, the SFE curricula have significantly reduced the risk of recruitment of children by the Armed Forces, prevented them from joining mining activities as diggers, foresters, or tree-cutters.  

“For girls, SFE is a tool to that prevents early and forced marriages and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, prostitution and more” 

Overall, SFE is making an enormous contribution to the process of empowerment and social protection in the Kivu region, which is plagued by humanitarian crisis and recurring wars — Village D’Espoire Member

The ECOLE VERTE project:   

The cost of protecting the natural environment is much lower than the cost of restoring it 

Since 2022, Village D’Espoire, through the Ecole Verte project in partnership with Aflatoun, has enabled a number of pupils in the eastern region of the DRC, particularly those in the province of North Kivu in the Nyiragongo territory, to combat the deterioration of their school environments and their respective communities.  

Through the environmental protection activities organised by the Village D’Espoire in over 11 schools in the Nyiragongo territory, more than 5,000 pupils were introduced to waste recycling with a view to cleaning up their environment, and to transforming waste into decorative works of art for their classrooms and into teaching materials. As a result, courtyards and classrooms where garbage used to be are now cleaner and more comfortable for learning.     

However, efforts are still ongoing to mobilise and empower internally displaced children and youth through inclusive projects to make significant changes and meet the real needs of vulnerable groups, affected by recurrent regional instability.