Natural disasters, armed conflict and neglect have left the schools in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in urgent need of investment.
Work went very fast. The children are so proud of their school.
Situated some 1,800 km from the capital city of Kinshasa, the provinces of North and South Kivu are in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in a region where armed conflict, poverty and natural disasters have undermined efforts to deliver basic services such as education.
To address this need the World Bank provided funds from its Multisectorial Program for Urgent Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (PMURR) to the Congolese Office for Central Coordination (BCECO).
BCECO used this money to build 18 schools and rehabilitate two others in Kivu, providing educational opportunities to some 20,000 students living in war-affected areas. UNOPS, active in DRC since 1995, won the bid to implement the project.
Major construction work began in July 2008 and the project delivered the 20 school buildings to the Government in only seven months, despite the highly unstable security situation in the area. The schools are located in the cities of Goma, Beni, Butembo, Bukavu and Uvira.
UNOPS engineers applied international, anti-seismic construction standards to minimize risks to pupils and buildings in this area of frequent earthquakes, with the most recent, major incident occurring in February 2008.
The works included construction of 11 administrative buildings and 10 sanitary blocks and rehabilitation of an additional five sanitary blocks. Local companies carried out the work.
All buildings have been fully equipped with 3,690 school desks, 4,000 seats, 200 teachers’ desks and 200 racks and bookshelves. These items were manufactured in local workshops using local materials.
Euphrem Badesi is President of the parents committee at the Ntwali public school in Bukavu, where his nine-year-old daughter Nyamushiha studies. “Children used to leave home clean and come back dirty from school; now they come back clean. Before there were not enough pupils registered at the school, but now more and more children are enrolling,” he said.
Biayi School, situated in the Munighi district, Goma, just a few hundred meters from the border with Rwanda, had not been rehabilitated since 1955. Kaposo Kitolu Cléophas, Director of the school said “Work went very fast. The children are so proud of their school.” He added that the parents committee, which UNOPS regularly consulted during the construction work, will provide maintenance for the new facilities.