WALTHAM, MASS | Education Development Center (EDC) has been awarded more than $22 million by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to lead a three-year project to engage young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with basic education, soft skills, and job training; community service; and employment opportunities. The goal is to help the country’s diverse population of vulnerable youth develop productive skills and a sense of resilience.
Communities in eastern DRC’s Kivu region have been devastated by war, which has been nearly constant since 1968, and the settlement of multiple armed groups. One result of this turmoil is that the region’s younger Congolese generations have few opportunities because they lack basic literacy and numeracy skills and have little relevant work experience.
With this new project, EDC will create several learning and livelihoods pathways for vulnerable youth. These pathways, which are built upon Positive Youth Development principles, will be integrated into existing education, government, and market institutions as well as local youth-serving organizations. Each pathway will enable a particular population of youth to cultivate the basic assets needed for a productive and independent future, including improved literacy and numeracy, life skills and work readiness training, and access to financial savings groups.
As part of the new project, EDC will complement existing programs with teaching materials and instructor training that are conflict sensitive and gender responsive. These materials will include an adaptation of EDC’s innovative Work Ready Now! curriculum, which is currently used in more than 25 countries, to train youth in the basic competencies required to transition to further education, be positively engaged in their communities, and enter the world of work.
“It is our hope that these young people will not only gain basic education and job skills, but will also develop a sense of personal empowerment and the ability to act as agents of social change,” said EDC’s Melanie Sany. “Knowing how they can engage and contribute to civic life will strengthen their sense of belonging and connection to the larger community.”
The work will focus in South and North Kivu. Partners in the effort include FHI 360, Catholic Relief Services, and Souktel, in addition to AVSI and other local organizations.
Education Development Center (EDC) is a global nonprofit that advances lasting solutions to improve education, promote health, and expand economic opportunity. Since 1958, we have been a leader in designing, implementing, and evaluating powerful and innovative programs in more than 80 countries around the world.