A Global Youth Ambassador explains how many young people in the DRC don't realise that quality schooling is a right they can demand.
A conference on the responsibility of students in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4 and 5 was organised by the Catholic University of Congo and held in its auditorium last month.
It provided an opportunity for academics and others to discuss how students, especially young women, can contribute to the SDGs and how far they have come with implementing them.
I had the privilege of being invited by my university through Dynamique Femme (a women’s organisation) as a Global Youth Ambassador to talk about SDG 4 (access for all to quality education). As part of my presentation I analysed three key points - education as a fundamental right, the quality of education and its targets, and finally the responsibility of students in achieving SDG 4.
Firstly, I explained that education is an essential right which allows everyone to secure conditions for a decent life, and offers an ability to have maximum independence.
Although it is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many people do not know that it is a right they can demand. To build a more peaceful world, education must be equally accessible to all.
It is not only a human right, it is also an essential means of promoting peace and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in general.
"Peace is not the absence of war but a virtue born of strength of soul."
Secondly, I spoke about quality education as the foundation for improving people's lives and achieving sustainable development. Education must be accessible but also acceptable and adaptable. Some characteristics associated with the quality of education are qualified teachers, promising results, quality tools and a quality learning environment.
Finally, I closed my presentation by showing how students can take actions in achieving SDG 4. I said students should know what they are doing and why they are doing it, making choices to be useful to society because everyone must be the driving force in their own success.
Particularly for girls, I encouraged them to not give in to the sexual advances of some men just to get a job.
A well-trained woman is admired for her knowledge and receives in return the respect she has cultivated for her purpose. So that in the future she would not be judged only because she is a woman but because she is smart and passionate.
In addition, students must get involved by taking part in conferences, volunteering, and round tables on SDG 4. Also actions such as creation of NGOs for education, donations in schools, petitions etc.
Sometimes we think that we do not have the means to make a difference in the world or to take actions - but each of us can make a difference in a particular way. Everyone's contribution is never too small. What counts is the effort, so let’s stand together and take action for quality education.