DRC Conflict and consequences Twenty years of chronic conflict has devastated the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Vital infrastructure, such as schools, that would normally promote the healthy development of children, is largely dilapidated or destroyed. Fighting has damaged school buildings and materials have been looted. Continuous disruptions due to fighting and displacement prompt children to leave school and seek future opportunities with armed groups or through harmful labour instead. The situation is particularly difficult for older children and young people who have missed out on primary school and are now too old to return. General insecurity continues to plague the eastern DRC resulting from political, economic and social factors. Preparations for presidential elections scheduled to take place in 2016 have been foreshadowed by reports of a possible change to the constitution allowing the president to be re elected a third time. This resulted in political tensions and demonstrations some with reported casualties in parts of the country including the east, in early 2015. The presence of myriads of foreign and domestic armed groups in the East of Congo, however, have had a far reaching impact on the security in the region, with UN OCHA reporting that at least 609,566 individuals had been internally displaced in South Kivu as of 31 December 2014. Their displacement was directly linked to insecurity or natural disasters. The launch of military operations by the Congolese army against the Raia Mutomboki in Kalehe territory in September 2014 occasioned the displacement of thousands of households. On average, according to OCHA, 19,500 children are forced to leave school per month in South Kivu due to the armed conflict and natural disasters. The lack of safety in schools also leads to girls especially dropping out of education. When children come back from displacement, there are currently few options for them to re join education, as they have missed essential parts of the curriculum and are unable to sit exams. The unpredictability of the situation also leads parents to put less emphasis on educating their children. Project objective The project ‘increasing children’s resilience’ aims to ensure that children affected by armed conflict have access to quality learning opportunities in a safe environment through catch up and accelerated learning programmes, and by strengthening formal education through teacher training and improving school management and child protection structures in schools. Accessible and safe learning opportunities will provide children with alternatives to joining armed groups and the life skills to flourish in their education. Teachers will gain psychosocial support knowledge and skills, contributing to better quality education. Project design In 19 communities, the project uses a holistic community based approach, targeting not only children and young people, but also their parents, teachers, and community members to ensure that entire communities are engaged in the education and protection of their children. The project is designed to obtain the following results: Increased access to non formal education for 1200 children Improved skills for education professionals to work with children affected by conflict Improvement of the physical learning environment (i.e. improved refurbishment, availability of materials, etc.) Project activities With children and young people Catch up classes and recreational activities in safe spaces for girls and boys who have had their schooling interrupted because of the conflict; Literacy and numeracy activities and rehabilitation in schools; Support for (re)integration in formal education Tailor made life skills sessions that help children improve their ability to cope with the adversity they face and improve their social and emotional coping skills With parents and caregivers Support collaboration between parents, teachers and other members of the community in school management Capacity building sessions to build the skills and knowledge to support the well being of their children and fulfill their roles and responsibilities in ensuring a protective environment for their children and promote their education With teachers and other education personnel Capacity development and training for 150 education professionals (teachers, directors, inspectors etc) in child friendly teaching methods and psychosocial support, classroom management using positive discipline techniques, with child protection and psychosocial support mainstreamed into all training Create a conducive environment for teaching and learning (learning materials, refurbishment) With schools improve school governance and promoting child friendly classrooms (positive discipline, participatory teaching methods) Support and provision of teaching and learning materials Establish community based child protection systems within the target schools; these are the Parent Committees, School Management Committees as well as the Student Committees. With communities Awareness raising activities and campaigns on child protection and child rights; Establish or strengthen child protection structures and committees at the safe learning spaces.