Improving surveillance of attacks on children and education in South Kivu: a knowledge collection and sensitivity analysis in the D.R. Congo

Cyril Bennouna, Ihotu Ali, Marius Nshombo, Gang Karume, Les Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Armed attacks on education affect students and school personnel around the world. South Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is thought to have particularly high rates of attacks on education, but robust prevalence estimates are challenging, as there are currently no validated, streamlined, and pragmatic methods available for monitoring attacks on education. Drawing on the wealth of information across organizations within the child protection and education sectors, this study used semi-structured interviews with key informants throughout South Kivu to enumerate the attacks that took place during two separate periods. Over the two rounds of this study, 405 attacks on education were documented in South Kivu, with 167 reportedly occurring between 25 December 2009 and August 2010, and 238 between 25 December 2012 and August 2014. Purposive samples of these reports were verified on site through interviews with school directors, teachers, and village leaders, and a confirmation rate of 53% was achieved for the first period and 79% for the second. Real-time monitoring of attacks on education could achieve sizeable improvements in these confirmation rates, as a large proportion of the invalidated reports were in fact corroborated, but had taken place before the study period. These findings suggest that semi-structured interviews with key informants using a short recall period, and then confirming a subsample of the reports, constitutes a feasible, reliable, and relatively sensitive method for monitoring attacks on education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalVulnerable Children and Youth Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • child protection
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • education
  • grave violation
  • health and human rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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