CSE Training in Goma DRCongo: Edmond’s Impressions and Experience

Conflict Sensitive Education
Vocational and Skills Training

Impression, Experience and lessons learnt about Conflict Sensitive Education Trainings, highlighting reflections on a set of trainings delivered in 2019 as part of a joint NRC, and INEE project called “Never too late to learn”, funded by the European Union (DG-INTPA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania.

The Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE) training, was delivered in Goma in June 2019 by Emeline Marchois (lead facilitator and INEE’s French language community facilitator) in collaboration with me, Edmond Buchana Shamba, INEE’s local focal point in DR Congo.

My contribution was on logistics and organisation of the workshop. Following the project’s methodology and beyond these activities, I participated in the workshop with other participants. I would like to share my impressions, experience and lessons learnt related to this CSE training through this blog.

The workshop was held over three days, from 19th to 21st of June 2019, in Goma DR Congo. Its objective was to consolidate the basic knowledge of participants on INEE Minimum Standards, to reinforce their competence on Conflict Sensitive Education with the purpose to increase the use of the pack in emergency interventions and fortify the institutional state or to build the capacity of education actors to integrate CSE strategies into their work with displaced people.

       1. My experience in Emergency Education

I started working for the Norwegian Refugee Council DR Congo in 2003 as a TEP Supervisor NRC/ Petit Nord-Kivu. TEP (Teachers’ Emergency Package) is an NRC’s catch up Education Program which deals with education of children (boys and girls) aged between 10 and 13 years who have never been at school. It combines courses of the first and second primary classes. I have worked also in YEP Program (Youth Education Program). This Program deals with vocational training of young people (Females and males), aged between 14 and 24 years who are jobless and who have never been at school because of several reasons including armed conflicts.

Using my experience, in 2009 I became an Emergency Education Trainer NRC/Goma charged of training Teachers on different modules such as the active and participatory methodology, psychosocial support that reinforce the teachers’ ability to give efficient help to children/pupils affected by the conflict, and child protection themes including the 1612 UN resolution, etc.

In January 2013 I became an Education Team leader in the Rapid Response to the population Movement RRMP NRC/ North-Kivu, this is one of the NRC’s project carried out in Collaboration with UNICEF charged of Plan field activities, manage and deploy the education team on the field so that they can carry out education activities.

I now work as a Technical Education Coordinator NRC/DRCongo and a focal point of INEE on the project since April 2019.

In June 2019, I experienced my first INEE Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE) workshop which targeted Education stakeholders, designed to build the capacity of education actors to integrate CSE strategies into their work with displaced people.

       2. The workshops and my impressions

Before this kind of workshop, I was lucky to participate in two other CSE workshops organised by NRC’s Education Management Team.

The first workshop which theme was “Introduction to CSE” was organised in July 2014 in Goma/Buhimba by NRC.

The second workshop was organised one year after the first one in July 2015 at the same place by the same NRC’s Education Management Team.

Without knowing that I could one day be INEE’s local focal point and train education actors and build their capacity to integrate CSE strategies into their interventions. The first workshop interested me, therefore I mentioned it as a theme for the second workshop when our trainers asked us to do so one year later. I mentioned it because I wanted to understand it deeply and practice it in our interventions.

The workshop held by Emeline Marchois in June 2019 gave me not only deep knowledge related to CSE, but it aroused my interest to care about the practice of its strategies in our  interventions because most of education staff either working on NRC’s education program or other NGOs who work in this domain have never been trained on this theme. So they offer emergency education without taking into consideration CSE strategies that allow us to give a chance to everybody to participate into the implementation of the project and avoid other conflicts which can arise because of they work without knowledge of key CSE considerations.

I appreciated the way we organized materials, including each training support pack for each participant for three days. For me, this was the best way to prepare a workshop; we allocated a full day to review the agenda and sequencing and to set up all materials.

The way the facilitator conducted the sessions through working groups and discussions was adapted to the participants.  The materials for the participants were enough and appropriate.

Though it is not always easy for one person to facilitate the workshop from the beginning up to the end of the day during three days, the facilitator did it without any one to help her. We learned more about CSE, which is very important in our interventions. The methodology and procedures used by the facilitator helped us to participate actively in each session through the working groups and discussions.

This methodology let the facilitator to monitor our progress and be sure that all participants were actively involved; we all had an input in the discussions and asked relevant questions to clarify any doubts during presentations. 

The great difference between this training and the two previous workshops, which took place successively in Goma (2014-2015), was the category of the participants, exploitation of several case studies of several crisis of given countries and the presence of training support (INEE minimum standards handbook, INEE minimum standards handbook contextualised for DRC North Kivu, and INEE CSE Pack).

The participants of the two previous workshops were all education staff from NRC’S areas in DR Congo and members of some local organisations, who signed the partnership agreement to carry out education activities in the field. In the June workshop, the cohort was composed of education staff of both local and international NGOs working in education domain in North Kivu Province, state inspectors of local offices of Education and Social affairs Ministries.

In conclusion, this workshop was useful in raising participants awareness who act in the education domain to work for the interest of IDPs and Refugee children and deliver a humanitarian response related to their real needs according to CSE strategies including the INEE minimum standards in order to avoid unintentional conflicts. We learned that humanitarian actors especially those who work in the education sector should take into consideration CSE strategies because a response delivered without following these strategies may influence the conflict in one manner or another.

We all understood why conflict sensitive education is important, we now know how to analyse the conflict and the three-parts of the definition of CSE, as well as when CSE should be used or is applicable.

Therefore, we have to minimise negative aspects when delivering an education intervention and favour peace building aspects. This training reinforced my knowledge in CSE matters; it gave me tools, methodology and procedures to run a CSE workshop.  I am now able to facilitate a training. The use of CSE strategies will give equal opportunity to all children including refugees and IDPs to have access to inclusive education during an emergency, make a right selection of teachers in the community in order promote equal rights to education and maximise peace.

       3. Lessons learnt

  • The CSE workshop cannot be carried out without the INEE documentation for both teachers and participants.
  • The CSE modules up to now are only for actors (humanitarians and states) who work for the education of affected children in emergency.
  • The best way to avoid conflicts that can occur because of a given education assistance is to practice CSE strategies in our interventions.

       4. Biography

I learnt applied pedagogy in the Department of education in Goma DR Congo Teachers’ Training College called in French “Institut Supérieur Pédagogique" (ISP). Therefore, I am a teacher and have taught at several secondary schools.

I have experienced internal displacement for more than six months in 1996. I have also been a refugee in one of our neighbouring countries for one year. I have participated in several workshops related to education in emergency and worked for more than fifteen years in emergency.  I really know what crisis and education in emergencies mean. 

Edmond Buchana Shamba