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YouthLearn Updates,  August 24, 2005

Stage 2 Training in Democratic Republic of Congo

As part of our ongoing work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Monica Biswas of the YouthLearn Initiative visited the country to lead a second training. This one focused on two topics: engaging people and materials from the local community in classroom teaching, and paying attention to issues of gender and equity in education.

The community resources modules were part of an entire “community participation” strategy in the project. A training was completed in July to organize community participation facilitators in each region to become or stay involved in education. This training of administrators, and then of teachers and directors, is an appropriate complement to help bridge any gap between school and community. Teachers and directors will learn, or be reminded of, fairly simple ways that they can find and use resources that are in the local environment, and help make the content relevant to the life and culture of students. The modules had very concrete objectives and content, and were easily grasped by participants.

During the modules on Gender and Equity in Education, participants were asked to analyze data that showed the disparities between boys and girls with regard to rate of primary school completion, “re-doublement” (having to repeat a grade), etc. Causes for these disparities were proposed by the participants themselves, during which time they cited a number of societal influences including customs of early marriage for girls, and disproportionate work assigned to girls at home. Participants also cited differences in gender roles, and differential chores attributed to boys and girls in schools (boys serving as “chef du village” (leaders) while girls clean latrines, etc). Other modules included understanding the role of women in development, and the history of the women’s rights movement around the world. All this led up to 3 culminating modules where participants 1) identified their own discriminatory behavior, 2) proposed changes in these behaviors, and 3) developed their own action plan to achieve the proposed change. These three modules were extremely interesting, and allowed participants to take control of which behaviors they will choose to change-- with hopes that this will increase the likelihood of that change occurring. Most participants left with the notion that it was important to offer the same opportunities to both boys and girls, to allow girls to succeed the same as boys.

Stage 3 of the training will be in January 2006, focusing on the techniques of Collaborative Learning, and Discovery-based Learning (adapted from inquiry-based learning methods). Will keep you updated!

Posted by mbiswas on August 24, 2005 | YouthLearn Updates