Source: A Safe World for Women
On her recent visit, Bahati Valerie talked with villagers and COFAPRI members about education.

The education of women and children, if respected and applied, can promote positively and impartially to the whole society and so bring bright economic, social and even political development.

Uneducated minds feel hopeless and are extremely vulnerable because they feel sure their future is dark and hard; no positive future is expected if it is not prepared through education from an early age. Neglecting to educate people – particularly children in their early age, to their satisfaction, is purely inoculating them with a kind of cancer that kills them little by little: it is applying structural violence on them.


“By educating our children, we will have prepared our them for a better future; we will have motivated them to develop the whole nation. 

They will have been made strong roots for development, for human rights, and so they will have been equipped with a strong shield of knowing their rights in order to scale down violence, discrimination, and injustice that are often directed to women and girls in particular, and the whole community in general.”

Mother of six children

Not educating the people regarding their rights, particularly the women, is to make them die slowly and gradually as they ignore their rights and ways to boost their development.

The more women and girls are educated, the better they can address violence, promote their development, and understand issues pertaining to their home and social rights.

“If we are educated, we can understand why men abuse us and learn how to resist them non-violently.

Education can give us and our children hope for a better future where we enjoy our rights and where we fight for sustainable development.

This is to create a safe world for us to live peacefully because ignorance has no more place in our minds.”

COFAPRI coordinator

Addressing Violence Through Education

COFAPRI believes that education is a reliable tool that can easily help the people and particularly the women to overcome social obstacles.

It can surely lift women and girls from the ignorance of their rights and enable self-development at local and national levels, in order to generate an economic environment that is favourable to them.


“Without education, people are dead.

They become comparable to a boat abandoned on the sea without a captain where there are a lot of waves ahead. Not educating the people in different contexts that trigger development is to oblige the people to melt like a candle.

We’ll only overcome structural violence, the different evils of violence, address the effects of underdevelopment by erecting strong pillars and foundations through educating the youth and the population in general.

This is like getting a kind of insurance for the future, via appropriate and non- discriminatory education.”

COFAPRI member

In this way, education remains one of the key strategies that can easily improve women and girls’ welfare and livelihood in their respective societies.

Once the economic context of women and girls is improved, it becomes certain that their respective communities and societies will reach a certain level of sustainable economic and social development.

“We as women –  we need to be educated and to be developed, not in the same way as our children, but to help us resist abuse and violence we often face in life.

COFAPRI has started this and I think the government must help him [Mugisho, co-founder] in what he is doing. We want our education and that of our children so that our future can be fine. We need sustainable education because our children are not like us; if they are not educated, they can cause more harm, and they can destroy their environment, the society and the country.

Give this chance to our children so that the days ahead of us can be easy to live. Educate these children so that they can give to their children what they got through education.

If we are educated, we will educate our kids for women’s development and rights.”

Nanjuci Barhame 

Changing the World for Women and Girls

Such development requires that education be taken seriously and in a non-discriminatory way.

Women as well as men have to commit to the agendas of education in order to benefit from it, for development. This is then a long and well-initiated process that helps women to become totally and widely aware of their personal reality in a manner that leads to effective action.  Once a woman or a man is well-educated, they understand better their world and their situation. They become aware enough to deal will it in an effective way.

“The existence of educated men and women in our villages, and in sufficient numbers, would prevent the absurdities of the present world of discrimination and violence against women throughout the world.

But what is true is that via education, the world of the women and girls may change, and so they can be able to truly boost their social and economic development. “

Girl interviewee


Countries develop because of their educated people; women, girls, men, and children all combined.

If the population is given non-gendered and quality education, the people will develop and enjoy it.

To paraphrase Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer (1483 - 1546):

The prosperity of a family, a community or a country depends not on the abundance of its revenue, nor the strength of its fortifications, but rather on the number of its cultivated members or citizens; their educated men and women of course, their illumination and character.

DRC people need to explore and experience the great importance of education at all levels of society.

This proves of paramount necessity as many DRC families, societies and the whole nation are thirsty to deploy more efforts and opinions for the education of their children and women. Such need of education remains a veritable tool for individual and social development if well implemented at local and national levels. 

Dependency and Responsibilities

DRC women in particular, and those from many corners of the world, have from time immemorial traditionally been saddled with many domestic and social responsibilities.

These roles include taking care of children, maintenance, and work at the home, looking for food, wood and water, feeding the family members from her side and that of her husband's, taking care of animals at home, and safeguarding of family health.

Not considering these roles previously enumerated for the typical woman, the modern woman, who is expected to be a wife, then a mother, is like her traditional counterpart, expected to play the role of a dutiful home keeper.

Respect, Healing and Empowerment

By playing such roles, women and girls are supposed to be capable of addressing the different challenges of this modern world where rape against them has become routine, particularly in war torn countries like the DRC. Education can help the women become adapted to real life contexts and modernization such as automation and computers.

Home is the First and Last School

Another challenge before them is the one imposed on them as the first and the last teacher of the child before and after school.  This is tremendously significant because they are expected to prepare the child to cope with the challenges of contemporary society.

Generally speaking, it becomes true that the repercussion of such reality is that the average woman of this period is not likely to play these positions efficiently unless she is fortified with adequate and functional education.

“If there is promotion of women’s education in our various villages, this can boost development in the country. With education, men and women will benefit from a lot of things that are helpful for them in various aspects. This is necessary since the children can also benefit from it in different ways.”

Buhendwa Berlin

“Women know that the home is ideally the first and the last school of their children. This makes it be considered as the foundation of children’s real socialization, with the mother serving as the first teacher.  So, it becomes clear that an educated mother will also educate her children toward development and social life because we will always give to our children what we inherited from our background and families.”

Nshobole Lucie

An educated family will raise educated children whereas an uneducated one will never educate its children.

The consequences in the last case are that the children become vulnerable.

Thus, they may become street children, thieves, bandits, and girls may become involved in risky and untimely, unprotected sexual activities just for survival. Such children view life as truly hopeless: they don’t think the future can make them change.

Uneducated Children are Vulnerable

The education of the youth should be given weight for different reasons. This is because not giving them opportunities to get educated will affect the family, the community, and the whole nation in different ways. This should be fought from the very early age and it is the duty of the government supported by families.

If this is not addressed appropriately, the future will be covered with great darkness, violence, discrimination, and revolts.

“If the youth are well-educated, at home and at school, on the effects of warfare and negative values, they grow up knowing that evils are not to be tolerated by society. In this way, they must learn how to love their neighbours and how to serve the country. In this way, our country’s rebellions could not have been nurtured as they are today.

Having influence on the youth and affecting women and girls in the country, these rebels have fetched manpower among the uneducated youth who have been discouraged by life –  and so they thought enrolling with rebels is a way of making their lives.

They should have learned that protecting the nation gives them pride and honor.”

Male member of COFAPRI

Their parents are wanderers of streets, markets, etc., because they have nothing to rely on. We owe it to our children to show them how education is very important in their lives.

We’ll only do this by sending them to school.

“We are six children in my family and no one helps us. No adult to help us and we can’t even help each other here.

My father died when I was a small child and I did not see him. The way you see me here is the way I am every day: no shoes, no food, nothing.

No... I wonder why God created me. I see other children going to school, but me – not. Others organize ceremonies on their birthdays; not me. My mother is poor. But I heard you are helping people around here; I will tell my mother to come and me, too, I will come, ok?

You see, I did not know you physically, but I was hearing people talking about you and we came here with our ball you see here to meet you and talk to you. You can send us to school next year.”

Child interviewee

Reliance on Men

Based on statistics from various countries, women still constitute about half the total population in most regions of the world. Besides that, women are generally more vulnerable than men to diseases, abuses, and economic hardships.

In DR Congo, women constitute over half the population. The present situation here is unhealthy and unsustainable, bearing in mind the wide national disparity in the ratio of male and female enrollment in school.

This is what clearly explains why the DRC women’s representation in decision-making remains low. This exists at home, social, and national levels. Women who currently manage their homes are rare in the DRC; some cultures stipulate that, when a woman is widowed, the family will impose one of the youngest brothers of the deceased husband to marry the widow in order to 'help' her and the brothers' children.

This means there is no home without a man.

Other tribes give all the power to the young boy or child who inherited his father's rights.

DR Congo Will Benefit From Women's Education

The above facts are a few among the many that cause women to suffer a lot because they are not educated and not involved in everything being organized in the country.

By involving women in development issues and in education, we can be reassured of a brighter future, for us and for our future generations.

Without education, life will be absurd and so women will always be suffering, which affects the whole society.

We need to educate women so that society will benefit from their knowledge.

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