TMB partners in a major UKaid supported project aimed at promoting girls education in the DRC

12.06.2013, Mbandaka, DRC – Today sees the launch of a major new project here in the DRC aimed at increasing the participation rate of girls in formal education. The programme, called ‘Valorisation de la Scolarisation de la Fille: VAS-Y Fille !, is funded by UKaid (the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development), and is implemented, in coordination with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), together with the Catholic Relief Service and Save the Children, and in partnership with Trust Merchant Bank and Airtel.

TMB was represented at the launch ceremony of ‘VAS-Y Fille!’ by Jean-Daniel Kalala, Head of TMB Mbandaka Branch and Michaël Demey, Head of Business Development.

The ‘VAS-Y Fille!’ project forms part of UKaid’s global ‘Girls Education Challenge’ programme and will be rolled-out across five provinces in the Congo, namely Bandundu, Equateur, Kasaï Oriental, Katanga and Province Orientale.

The primary objective of the ‘VAS-Y Fille!’ programme is to increase and secure school enrolment, learning and school completion for an estimated 137,360 marginalised girls. The programme is designed to:
(1) Increase parental financial capacity to support girls in primary education;
(2) Improve girls’ reading and maths skills through teacher training, tutoring and community reading programmes;
(3) Increase community involvement ensuring girls’ access to quality education in a safe environment;
(4) Increase civil society engagement in providing alternative learning opportunities that will allow out-of-school girls to complete primary education.

Despite the measures taken by the DRC Government to secure universal education for all children in the country, only 48% of girls finished primary school in 2011. Barriers to education are particularly strong for women and girls: 49% of women aged 15 to 24 cannot read or write and 4 million girls aged 5 to 17 are excluded from the school system.

The ‘Vas-Y Fille!’ project is funded by the British government to the tune of $34 million (£ 22 million) and will run for three years. This commitment demonstrates a significant investment by the United Kingdom in the fight against economic, socio-cultural and educational barriers that hinder girls’ enrolment, retention and completion of formal education in the DRC.

TMB supports various civil society initiatives in the Congo including in the areas of education, art, ecology and health care, and is committed to ensuring the success of the ‘VAS-Y Fille!’ programme.