Since 2019, Libraries Without Borders and the Belgian government development agency ENABEL have supported teaching and formal certification of vocational skills by using modern technology, with an aim to give Burundi’s young people more independence. The country has more than 200 vocational training centers (VTC) that offer technical and professional training to young people in Burundi. A variety of subjects are available such as hospitality, dressmaking, tourism, car mechanics, agriculture, and electrician qualifications.
Although a VTC may have the right textbooks for each course, the lack of additional teaching resources, including videos, tutorials, and other informal content, can limit the ability to provide comprehensive teaching. With this in mind, we have set up Ideas Cube kits in 13 VTCs. Each kit contains an Ideas Cube server loaded with content tailored to the local context of each center, 10 tablets, a projector, a charging module, and a computer. A kit has also been set up in the central base of the Ministry of Education and Professional Training. With our partner’s help, our team has selected different multimedia resources to complement textbook learning about various subjects including administration, French language, carpentry, computer programing, photography, video creation, gardening, management, marketing, and plumbing.
In order to ensure that the project is sustainable and that VTCs are modernized, we have trained each center’s staff on how to use the tool, taking into consideration both the technical and cultural aspects. Educators are now able to plan their classes and workshops autonomously. LWB has supported 300 educators and in less than six months, the VTCs have held more than 150 user sessions that more than 1,000 people have attended. Based on observations of the initial project success in Burundi, ENABEL has renewed its support of LWB to run the same type of project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2020 in 15 vocational training centers in the provinces of Kisangani, Kasaï, SudUbangui, and Katanga.