“We engage students at an early age and equip them with good values”
Girls' education, Right to education
Integrity Clubs in the DRC teach young people to become youth monitors and to reach out to their communities to make a positive impact.
I am proud to be part of the Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador network. I have a passion for integrity-building, peacebuilding, anti-corruption and community engagement.
I work with young people and civil society organisations to try to embed anti-corruption and transparency measures in the education sector.
Everyone knows that corruption impedes efforts to increase transparency of public services. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, free education is a constitutional right – but in reality the education system is largely directly financed by parents through school fees and levies.
Part of the fees are ostensibly dedicated to the construction and maintenance of buildings, yet most schools still do not meet the minimum Congolese education standards.
Schools are overcrowded and often lack equipment, water and sanitation facilities and adequate teaching and learning materials. As a result many young people are left behind and fail to gain the skills they need to secure their future.
At Centre de Recherche sur l’Anti-Corruption (CERC), we are convinced that in order to bring transformative change in our country, we need to start by changing children’s attitudes.
Engaging students at an early age and equipping them with good values at a stage when their character is forming can help reduce the likelihood of children growing up to become corrupt. Once their values are strengthened, students become Young Integrity Builders and reach out to their communities to make a positive and visible impact.
In December 2017 we kicked off our first Integrity Clubs in 20 secondary schools in Uvira. 300 motivated students from all disciplines, including 152 girls, were trained to become youth monitors.
Integrity Clubs meet twice a month, where students discuss topics and carry out a mix of theoretical and practical activities within their Club, school and community.
For instance, students engage in role plays to understand how to act with integrity when faced with a difficult situation, or organise debates around freedom of information, good citizenship and good governance. Topics include integrity, corruption, transparency, accountability, inclusivity, rights and responsibilities of a good citizen, and leadership.
To date, the 300 trained youth monitors are involved in monitoring infrastructure projects or service delivery projects in their schools and in the communities as whole. They then write a report about their findings and recommendations and share it with the service providers, implementing agencies, local government, donors and contractors.
If problems are found within a project or a service, students organise meetings with the stakeholders to try to come up with a shared solution. If this does not work, students start an advocacy campaign to try to solve the problem.
As result of this investment in youth, trained integrity builders continue to transform their talent to become leaders with integrity. During the monthly sessions with young people in others schools these young leaders and in the process of bringing others into the fold.