Are you serious about tackling poverty? Then be serious about education!
That’s the message behind a campaign underway in the Dominican Republic to make the government spend at least 4% of GDP on education.
The campaign’s being run by the Coalición por una Educación Digna (the Decent Education Coalition). Decent education – it’s a simple message, and they had a simple idea to get the message across: wear something yellow on Monday!
They did it for the first time on Monday, December 6th, on the streets of towns and cities across the DR; standing under the sun in front of the National Congress where the National Budget is discussed; and outside the Case de Gobierno, hoping to catch the eye of President Leonel Fernández.
Above: People demonstrate on Yellow Monday on the streets of Jimaní (this photo, and photo at top, also taken in Jimaní, by Progressio development worker Bolívar Sánchez)
Above: an elderly woman and the Director of Centro Juan Montalvo, Father Mario Serrano, campaigning on Yellow Monday on a street corner in Santo Domingo.
Below: Progressio and Christian Aid staff in Santo Domingo dressed up for Yellow Monday!
And when the National Budget came out assigning only 2.7% to education, the coalition announced that every Monday would be a Yellow Monday, until the government meets its obligations. Because 13 years ago, under Leonel Fernández’s first presidential mandate, a law was passed saying that 4% of GDP would be set aside for education.
The people will not give up. At the first demonstration, people were waving their hands in the air and saying “why 4%, let’s ask for 5!” With such enthusiasm, who’s to say it’s not possible? The Monday before Christmas is the second session of the National Congress – and I’m guessing it’s going to be a Yellow Monday again!
Vita Randazzo is a Progressio development worker in the Dominican Republic. Another Progressio development worker, Mariana Barrenese, is working with Centro Juan Montalvo, one of the main actors in the 4% initiative.