Lokua Kanza appointed UNICEF National Ambassador
KINSHASA, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 - UNICEF has appointed artist Lokua Kanza as a National Ambassador on International Literacy Day. The multi-talented artist will use his visibility to raise awareness about children's rights and youth issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"Thanks to his international fame, Lokua Kanza can help put the spotlight on the challenges Congolese children face on a daily basis," said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
The DRC has made significant progress toward universal access to primary education in recent decades. However, approximately 4 million children ages 6-11 are still out of school, representing about 21% of all children in this age group. The pre-school enrollment rate for 3-5 year olds is only 5%. Repetition and dropout rates at the primary level undoubtedly have an impact on the secondary level. Indeed, only one-third of children are enrolled in secondary school.
"I know the challenges that children face in going to school because I have faced them myself," said Lokua Kanza upon his appointment. "Many Congolese children do not enjoy their full rights and I am committed to UNICEF today so that every child can go to school, learn and grow in a favorable environment.
The vision of the Government of the DRC, through the policy of free education at the primary level, is to build an inclusive, quality and more equitable education system. To achieve this goal, it is imperative to consider girls' education as a priority to break the cycle of poverty, improve the socio-economic environment, better protect against diseases, avoid early marriages and pregnancies and fight against child labor.
UNICEF is supporting the Government in the implementation of the training and education sector strategy by prioritizing the following actions:
- Identify the factors hindering girls' education in order to implement effective measures according to contextualized needs, in particular domestic work, violence against girls and early marriage;
- Diversify learning opportunities to reduce the number of children outside the education system and improve education indicators for children and girls in particular;
- Ensure sectoral coordination to improve governance and strengthen advocacy for more equitable quality education.
Education is the most appropriate investment to ensure the protection of children and their cognitive and social development and to promote the country's human capital. The intensification of violence in many areas of the country deprives children of their right to learn and puts their lives and futures at risk.