According to Foreign Policy's Charles Kenny, citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo believe that there's hope for their war-torn country. And despite the fact that it's struggling economically and has been declared the second-worst place in the world to be a woman, their optimism is starting to be reflected in health and education outcomes.
Read an excerpt here:
… But over the same 1990 to 2007 period in which poverty was spreading, according to the World Bank, infant mortality rates dropped from 15 percent to 9 percent. That's still horribly high, but it means that a child in present-day Congo has a better chance of surviving than a child in South Korea or Mexico in 1960. Maniema, the province of the country that performed worst in the survey, has an infant mortality rate of 13 percent — below the overall country average in 1990 and below the levels in Peru and Morocco in 1960. The proportion of underweight children has declined. Maternal mortality has also fallen. Even HIV prevalence has dropped, from 4.2 to 3.4 percent of the population.
… And it isn't just health. Education rates are climbing by leaps and bounds. Thirteen million Congolese students were enrolled in school in 2007, and the percentage of primary-age kids in school went from 64 to 84 percent between 2006 and 2008 alone. There is now a considerably higher percentage of children in school in the Congo than there was two decades ago — or, for that matter, in Kuwait and Honduras as recently as 1980.
… In short, the signs of hope in the Congo are the result of the country's citizens' own belief that things should be better than they are — and that they can be.
Source: Foreign Policy.
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