The largest Francophone country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is endowed with vast natural resources. It has nearly 80 million inhabitants, fewer than 40% of whom live in urban areas. Between conflicts, poverty, and frequent disease outbreaks, humanitarian needs in the DRC are among the highest in the world, severely affecting the weakest portion of society’s life: children. The school enrollment ratio for primary education is 111.9% due to the phenomenon of older children who are attending school for the first time. However, this percentage drops dramatically for secondary education (43%) and even more for tertiary education (8%).
ST Foundation’s Presence
Due to its complex context, the DRC became the first country outside the ST area that was added to the ST Foundation map. In 2005, the DU Program was introduced with the support of the Foundation’s initial partner: Movimento per la Lotta Contro la Fame Nel Mondo (MLFM). As a result of this collaboration, two informatics centers were set up in the South Kivu Region. When the partnership ended in 2008, the Foundation decided to stay and continue its fight against the country’s digital divide.
Today, the Foundation is still present in the country, with twelve centers in the Katanga Province, where the social and educational conditions are challenging.
The pandemic slowed down the Foundation’s activities during 2020, although they were never interrupted. In 2021, all centers resumed their courses normally. The year’s highlight was the launch of the Foundation’s partnership with Enabel (a Belgian development agency). Due to this collaboration, we were able to organize a Train the Trainers Course that allowed us to train ten new teachers and boost the DU Program’s reach.
In the first trimester of 2022, the activities continue normally, and over 83,000 beneficiaries have been reached since the initiative’s inception.