The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the most important countries in Africa for biodiversity conservation, given its enormous ecological richness. Agriculture has multiple effects on biodiversity, some of which are harmful. For instance, agriculture appears to be the main driver of deforestation in the DRC.
At the same time, agriculture is a key economic sector, employing around 70 per cent of the Congolese population. Secondary agricultural technical education prepares youth for this employment. It provides students with the skills they need to improve agricultural production and transformation techniques and create their own agro-enterprises. To protect the DRC’s biodiversity, it is important that the next generation of farmers is skilled in sustainable agriculture.
Educators need to be convinced of the importance of sustainable agriculture, as do students and parents. The intervention focuses on schools in areas where forest loss due to existing agricultural practices is particularly high.
The programme raises awareness about the threat that existing agricultural practices pose to biodiversity, and promotes sustainable agriculture among the educational communities (which include provincial pedagogical advisors, school directors, teachers, students, parents and the community around the school, such as neighbors and the private sector) of selected schools in Kinshasa, Bas-Congo, and Bandundu.
- Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and Initiation to New Citizenship (MEPS-INC)
- Ministry of Technical and Professional Education (MINETP)
- 3 Provincial Inspection Services (IPP)
- Ministry of Environment, Conservation of Nature and Sustainable Development (MECNDD)
- Centre d’Echange d’Informations de la RD Congo – Convention sur la diversité biologique (CHM RDC)
The Journées Portes OuVERTES project centres on awareness raising about sustainable agriculture among local educational communities. It is part of a larger capacity development trajectory that focuses on improving these educators’ professional development opportunities.
The capacity development trajectory was built around the following pillars:
- Introducing education for sustainable development at school level by training and coaching teachers and providing them with teaching materials that promote sustainable agriculture.
- Awareness raising about the role of sustainable agriculture in conserving biodiversity through the organisation of Journées Portes OuVERTES – ‘Green Open Days’ – at schools.
- Strengthening the institutional ties between key stakeholders in agricultural technical education and in biodiversity and conservation through relationship brokering, mini-seminars, and collaboration for the organisation of the Journées Portes OuVERTES.
By the end of the project:
- More than 1,000 educators, students and parents have been reached through the Journées Portes OuVERTES.
- A poster for a theatrical play about sustainable agriculture was developed.
- A poster and brochure with 12 activities for biodiversity was developed.
- The partnership between VVOB, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Environment is strengthened.
To reach its goals, VVOB DRC develops the capacity of its partners. VVOB uses capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB DRC team, which includes both local and international educational, agricultural and change management experts.