September 8, 2021
We know that literacy in the early years of learning is the foundation upon which all future learning is built. A universal truth has emerged from countless studies: Children who can read well in the early years of their studies perform better in school and are better equipped to perform the jobs of the future. In the DRC, early literacy provides a solid foundation on which the DRC can continue to build an educated workforce to support its growing knowledge-based economy. This is the future envisioned in the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace, Prosperity, and Preservation of the Environment: a flourishing, prosperous DRC economy built on a population with the education, training, and tools to make it a reality.
Through ACCELERE!, a $180 million partnership which successfully concluded in 2021, USAID and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) joined efforts to empower more than one million children to acquire life skills. USAID continues these efforts through the Integrated Youth Development Project, offering young people the opportunity to build resilience through access to alternative learning, community, and economic engagement opportunities.
Very recently, USAID launched Elimu ni Jibu – an education in emergencies response project to enable children and young people to acquire socio-emotional skills necessary for their resilience.
The U.S.-supported education portfolio has also expanded with the birth of two other new post-ACCELERE! Projects: Sasa Tunasoma and Foundational Literacy for Improved Educational Resilience (FLIER). Sasa Tunasoma will support the development of literacy and socio-emotional learning skills of children aged six to nine in South Kivu, including young children living with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and girls.
At the same time, FLIER aims to meet the education needs of children living in the provinces of Equateur, Tanganyika and Ituri, as well as children living in the outskirts of Kinshasa.
Together, Sasa Tunasoma and FLIER represent a $38 million investment from the United States Government to address education gaps amongst indigenous and other marginalized groups in the DRC.
Today, on International Literacy Day, we celebrate our joint success as partners, but we do not lose sight of the fact that there is still a long way to go. The United States government commits to redoubling our efforts to give Congolese children and young people the education they fully deserve to build the future we know is possible.