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Programs And Events Highlights

•USAID Awards Scholarships to More 72 primary schools Girls

October 9, 2014

USAID/DRC Mission Director Diana B. Putman hands over symbolically to school girl a backpack containing several school items (State Dept photo)

DRC Gender Minister Geneviève Inagosi hands over a backpack containing several school items including notebooks, pens, and rulers to a school girl (State Dept photo)

On October 7, 2014, USAID handed-over scholarships to 72 girls from the Primary public School Ecole Publique (EP) 7 Kimpangi in Commune of Kintambo.  The scholarship award ceremony marked the official launch of activities of the USAID-funded project “Empowering Adolescent Girls to Lead through Education (EAGLE)” for the 2014-2015 school year.

Education statistics show that girls and women lag behind in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Violence on the way to school and at school, old-fashioned traditional norms such as early marriages, and economic pressures are some of the contributing factors. The number of girls enrolled in school shrinks drastically as one move from primary to secondary and to the university levels.  Girls’ drop-out rates are rank amongst the highest in the sub-region.

EAGLE is a gender-transformative approach which engages girls, boys, women and men in actively examining and changing entrenched unequal gender norms that largely harm girls and women and hinder their social and economic development. It particularly targets adolescent girls in the fifth and sixth primary grades, supports their transition secondary grades while equipping them with the skills necessary to become active agents for change in their communities.

“Education is the most effective way to take the challenges for development. Educating girls reduces infant mortality and improve the nutritional status of households. Education gives your daughter means to better take care of herself and her family. Through education, she will better educate her children and will become a shield for the entire family,” noted Diana Putman, USAID/DRC Mission Director.  Recognizing the United States Government’s support to the DRC’s education strategies of making quality education accessible to Congolese children, the DRC Deputy Minister of Education, Maguy Rwakabuba added “We thank the Government of the United States for its coherent support aligning with the strategic priorities of the DRC Education interim plan related to the access, equity, school retention, and the quality of Education”.

To date, the five-year, $16 million EAGLE project has selected all 909 girl and 108 boy scholarship beneficiaries; trained 54 teachers to be first responders in school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) and 162 mentors to provide guidance on life choices and life skills to select students; designed and printed 750 teaching guides; and trained 421 primary school teachers and administrators in reading, writing, math, gender-sensitive pedagogy and other alternative teaching methodologies that will reduce inequalities and prevent SRGBV.