Democratic Republic of Congo ACCELERE!


The Basics:

  • Funded by:  USAID
  • Prime contractor:  Chemonics International
  • SIL LEAD involvement: 2016-2018
  • Minority languages served: Kiswahili, Lingala and Tshiluba 
  • Materials produced: Linguistic Report, Scopes and Sequence, and Word Lists for each language, Bloom Training Workshop, SynPhony Training Workshop, Design and Training for Student and Teacher Language Mapping Surveys, and Analysis of survey data.
  • Metrics: In 2017, USAID contributed to the primary education of over 1,000,000 children and over 751,000 children with focused early grade reading interventions in the DRC and provided 2,437 primary school classrooms with a complete set of essential reading materials. USAID provided separately 255,000 teaching and learning materials to schools.

Thesis of Project: The ACCELERE! program supports the Ministry of Education to increase access, equity, and retention, as well as improve the quality and relevance of education for Congolese youth.


SIL LEAD Overall Contribution to Project: SIL LEAD has supported the effort to improve education quality, measured by student reading outcomes, in provinces where Kiswahili, Lingala, and Tshiluba are spoken by providing linguistic analysis, Bloom and SynPhony training, and student and teacher language mapping.

Summary of the Project:

USAID, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), has committed to implementing a primary education initiative to improve equitable access to education and learning outcomes for girls and boys in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  This collective initiative, entitled ACCELER! (Accès, Lecture, Retention et Redevabilité or Access, Reading, Retention, and Accountability) aims to support the Congolese government’s commitment to free universal basic education and improved learning outcomes as articulated in their Interim Education Plan and Education Sector Strategy. One component of this joint program, Activity 1 of ACCELERE! is led by Chemonics International under the Improving Reading, Equity, and Accountability in the DRC contract with USAID.

The purpose of ACCELERE! Activity 1 is to improve educational outcome for boys and girls in select education provinces in the DRC.  To achieve this purpose, ACCELERE! Activity 1 will support education service delivery in public and nonformal primary education schools/centers in 25 education sub-divisions across the six provinces of Haut Katanga, Lualaba, Kasai Oriental, Kasai Central, de l’Equateur, and Sud-Ubangi.  In addition, the project will also support nonformal alternative/accelerated leaning programs including centres de rattrapage scolaire (CRS) and vocational centres d’apprentissage professional in target areas within the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, and CAPs in conflict-affected zones in Haut Katanga and Lualaba.

Result 2 of ACCELERE! Activity 1 is to improve education quality, measured by student reading outcomes.  Under this result area, Chemonics and its ACCELER! Subcontractor FHI360 are supporting the DRC government to enhance its national reading curriculum, targeting French and three national languages – Kiswahili, Tshiluba, and Lingala – from Grades 1-4 for formal primary schools and the equivalent (Levels 1 and 2) in CRS. This includes developing new and adapting existing teach and learning materials, including reading texts, grounded in an evidence-based approach to reading instruction grounded in explicit, structured, and systematic phonics-based methodologies. To do so requires developing scopes and sequences for each grade level crafted from the linguistic specificities of each language.  ACCELERE! Activity 1 must also ensure that the reading texts it helps to develop are decodable and leveled.  Finally, ACCELERE! Activity 1 must undertake operations research and provide policy support provided to the languages spoken by the student and teachers in the school-communities targeted by the project.

In addition to development or reading program materials, ACCELERE! Activity 1 is also required to design, conduct, and report out on operations research related to languages spoken in the school-communities in the project’s target zones, and the oral and written language skills of teachers in these school-communities.  This is in keeping with USAID’s recommendations on the ACCELERE! Activity 1 Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (PMEP) and with the project’s approved Operations Research Plan.

This is a $180 million, five-year program jointly funded by USAID and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID). This project is the largest single education intervention in the DRC and will improve the reading outcomes of 1.5 million grades 1-4 students in French and their local language. It will employ professional development approaches for teachers that use local languages to help young children learn to read, consistent with the new curriculum.