Today, on the International Day of the Girl, Eastern Congo Initiative is delighted to sign on to the Girl Declaration – a call to action to put girls at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, asking world leaders to urgently address the plight of the 250 million girls worldwide who currently live in poverty and face discrimination.
Girls’ education in eastern Congo
ECI organized several ‘Voice of the Girl’ discussion groups with girls in both Goma and Sake to support the development of the Girl Declaration. The girls discussed their hopes and dreams for the future, raising the issues and challenges they encounter in their daily lives. Their ideas and perspectives directly informed the Girl Declaration, which has now been presented to world leaders and policymakers, prioritizing the education, health, citizenship, economic security and safety of girls.
The Congolese girls that spoke to ECI raised education as one of the biggest challenges they face. Those who had not had the opportunity to go to school felt cheated, viewing education as the ticket to a better life and the freedom to make their own choices about their future. Sifa*, a 15-year old girl living in central Goma, said:
“Girls have a right to education, just the same as boys do. We want to go to school and to learn… We need more scholarships for girls from poor backgrounds.”
While only 20% of Congolese men are illiterate, almost half of Congolese girls and women cannot read or write (UNESCO). Girls are often forced to stay at home and attend to menial domestic chores while their brothers are in the classroom. This staggering inequality between boys and girls’ access to education in DRC is a critical obstacle to the development of the country.
To read the Girl Declaration, hear stories from girls around the world and add your support, head to the Girl Effect website: http://www.girleffect.org/2015-beyond/the-declaration/
*Not real name