The beginning of the new school year didn’t go unnoticed in Goma!

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, 4 September 2015 – A motorized caravan was organized to raise awareness amongst the people of Goma and of its surroundings on the enrollment of all 6 and 7-year-old children in primary school.

After the official launch on Friday 4 September in Kanyaruchinya, 10 km from Goma, in the Nyiragongo territory, Young Reporters led the caravan on the Kanyaruchinya-Goma road, ending at the location of the concert organized by our partner ODH (Organization of the Duties of Humans).

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I prefer to launch a campaign inside the province; last year we did it in Sake and today it is Kanyaruchinya’s turn,” explains Mrs. Adèle Bazizane, provincial Minister of Primary and Secondary Education at the New Citizenship (EPS-INC) during an interview.

The official launch ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Kanyaruchinya Primary School. This ceremony saw the participation of executives of the provincial Ministry EPS-INC, provincial delegates, political-administrative authorities from the Nyiragongo territory, the provincial committee of parents, NGOs working on children’s education, as well as the people of Kanyaruchinya.

At the concert’s location, the artist-musician ambassadors for the new academic year sang with the people of Goma, songs written to raise awareness among parents, children and decision-makers on the importance of education for peace.

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On the same stage, about twenty children from the « Vijana Up » project, led by the dance troupe Rihna Crew of Goma, got the audience to dance.

In North Kivu province, previous campaigns contributed to the enrollment of roughly 200,000 children (girls and boys) of 6 to 7 years of age in their first year of primary school.

School kits to encourage parents to enroll their children in school.

“Dear parents, please take these donated school kits from our friend UNICEF, who we thank infinitely,” said Minister Bazizane, addressing the crowd in Swahili, symbolically distributing school kits to several children enrolled in first grade at Kanyaruchinya Primary School.

We are very pleased to have received these school supplies, we thank UNICEF,” a 6-year-old girl who was given a school kit told me.

For the province of North Kivu, this year UNICEF will provide 40,000 first grade students with school kits in the Walikale territory.

“In addition to the information and awareness-raising of parents and of communities on the importance of children’s education, UNICEF will accompany the campaign ‘Girls and boys, all to school’, which plans – over the first two weeks following the start of the academic year – the organization of activities to identify those children not yet enrolled within the target areas, » declared Anne Daher, representing the Head of UNICEF’s Zone-East Office.

The Ambassadors of the new academic year, coordinators chosen from the community, go from door to door to raise awareness among parents or children’s guardians to encourage them to enroll their children in school, without delay, to give them the chance to complete their primary school cycle.

In her speech, Minister Bazizane reassured parents that she would plead for the reduction in school fees, from the current 4,000 Congolese Francs (about 4 US dollars) to 1,000 FC (about 1 USD). Parents who attended the ceremony were delighted and praised the Minister’s promise.

Passing by on the road near the concert, Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in DRC, was drawn to the powerful atmosphere and got out of his vehicle to dance and sing with the young artists.

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« I am very pleased to be here. By achieving peace and security, parents will easily be able to send their children to school. The place of a child is in school, not on the battlefield, » Martin Kobler said in response to the questions of the Young Reporters.

UNICEF confirmed, on this occasion, that it will continue its commitment to accompany the government, civil society and communities in their efforts to ensure that all children of DRC have access to a basic quality education.

Watch a video of the events (in French) here:

©UNICEF DRC/2015/Batumike
Kindly translated from French by Lisa Berthelot
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Kelvin Batumike

Ancien Enfant Reporter et passionné par la défense des droits des enfants,Kelvin Batumike s'est donné pour mission de promouvoir les talents des jeunes afin de leur permettre de prendre leurs responsabilités pour le développement du pays.

Former Child Reporter and avocating for children’s rights since a very young age , Kelvin Batumike has taken it upon himself to promote young people and their talents so as to enable them to assume their responsibilities for the development of the DR Congo.

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