In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Hunde community is focused on revitalizing their language, Kihunde, which is spoken by as many as 600,000 people in the DRC’s eastern Nord-Kivu Province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda. The DRC is one of the world’s most linguistically diverse countries, with at least 400 languages and likely many more that have yet to be formally classified. However, only five languages—French, Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili, and Tshiluba—are official, meaning the vast majority of Congolese people are unable to use their languages in public institutions like courts and public schools. As a result, many communities are beginning to fall into patterns of language shift: people choose not to speak their languages, driven by the misconception that their languages are no longer “useful”. That’s the challenge for Kihunde. Per UNESCO, it’s not a formally “endangered language”, but speakers have begun to shift toward larger languages like Swahili and French absent institutional support for keeping their mother tongue alive.

In collaboration with Wikitongues, they created the first Kihunde learning center in 2021. Although some teachers were trained in the Kihunde methodology, they lacked the means to teach young people effectively. For the upcoming year 2023-2024, they are extending their previous work by launching five Kihunde learning centers in Goma, reaching approximately 250 young learners. The teachers will undergo training on conducting literacy classes and receive a teacher’s guide for guidance. The courses will be divided into 60 two-hour sessions, totaling 120 hours of instruction. The plan is to conduct sessions in four separate periods throughout the year, covering 30 subjects.