2008 News items



14th December 2008
News of updates to the website
from Martin Gilbraith


Updates and additions to the website this month include:

  • news - news items from Mkoko Boseka on developments within CEEACO, and from Janet Gilbraith on fundrasining activities of Cambridgeshire Area Meeting
  • donate - we have now raised £11,160.47 toward our target of £27,000, largely from Quakers in the Cambridgeshire and Manchester & Warrington areas but with a substantial contribution from Quaker Peace & Service Trust New Zealand.  So we are well on our way, but we have £15,839.53 still to raise!
  • downloads - Quaker Congo Partnership's A3-size poster and A4-size, 3-folded leaflet are now available to download in pdf, to print and use for local publicity where you are - for higher resolution versions please contact us.
  • links - new links include 'Rape in a lawless land', a powerful video report from the Guardian of the testimony of women and girls abused by marauding militias in eastern Congo; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who estimated that 75% of the rape cases it dealt with worldwide were in eastern Congo; Tim Butcher's book 'Blood River', and Thierry Michel's award-winning film 'Congo River'


13th December 2008
Update from CEEACO (November 2008)
Message from Mkoko Boseka


We would like to share with you the following points which could help us to make good progress with our programmes:

1.  We have appointed a committee to be responsible for the partnership between CEEACO and you.  Mkoko Boseka has been asked to be the permanent correspondent with you.  This committee is made up of women and men.

2.  The memorial service for Dr Etando was a success with thousands of people present from different social strata.  In every speech, it was stressed that continuing the programmes left behind by Dr Etando was the only way and the only means to ensure that Dr Etando’s name would live.  This would be possible if the people and CEEACO work together and are also supported by other Friends (Quakers) from elsewhere.

3.  After the memorial service, we went with our new doctor (Dr Guillaume) to Abeka to lay flowers on the grave of his colleague, Dr Etando.  After laying the flowers, the new doctor, accompanied by the local authorities in Abeka, the people responsible for CEEACO, and the hospital workers, visited all the installations in the hospital, the foundations of the Trauma Clinic Peace Garden, the construction of the new operating theatre etc.  The following day Dr Guillaume had his first discussions with the workers in the hospital.  Dr Aloys Kapama, in his capacity as Chief Medical Doctor in the region of Uvira, was a  great help to us in finding the new doctor.  Not only that, Dr Kapama agreed to be consultant to the programme in the hospital.

4.  We are grateful for your suggestion of putting us in touch with other organisations that could contribute to the programme in the hospital, since the need is greater than our means.

5.  We are planning to organise a meeting with those responsible for the TCPG (Trauma Clinic Peace Garden) at which we shall discuss the first activities to be carried out over the next 6 months.

6.  We intend to nominate someone from our committee who is trained in development and who will have the responsibility of following up the activities of all the programmes.

7.  The women are planning to meet in the coming weeks to identify the activities that they want to pursue during the first 6 months.

We would also like you to know that there is peace in South Kivu; it is only in North Kivu that violent conflicts continue between the government army and that of Laurent Ngunda.  From the reports and telephone calls that we continue to receive, we can confirm that there are many families of our Quaker members who are displaced in Goma where they are living in dreadful conditions and need help.  Please share this sad news with other Friends around the world – perhaps they will be able to help us.



13th December 2008
A report on Cambridgeshire Friends on some recent fundraising activities
from Janet Gilbraith


We would like to share some of our recent  fundraising activities, and hope that they may encourage others in their own fundraising efforts.  Recent activites in Cambridgeshire have included:

  • Selling pieces of cake to have with our coffee after Meeting - two weeks running, two Young Friends brought a couple of home made cakes and sold them at 50p a piece. Very simple and very effective.
  • Book sale - a Friend turned out her own shelves and invited others to do so too. The books were out on a table after Meeting and at Area Meeting for about six or eight weeks.  Buyers were asked for 50p for paperback and £1 for hard-cover, but probably many gave more. Again very simple and effective.
  • Play performance - Sheila Gatiss arranged a very successful fund-raising event for the Partnership last Sunday afternoon. She invited a pair of actors, calling themselves "Plain Quakers" to do their production "On Human Folly" which they had taken to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.  It is a dramatised reflection on John Woolman's last visit to England and what he might have thought about our problems with simplicity these days. It lasts about an hour and was very enjoyable. She said they usually charge £5 but she sold tickets at £15 each. There were about 70 people there - nearly a capacity audience I think.  
  • Exhibition and sale of work - we had a wonderful exhibition of art at Jesus Lane on Saturday last and have raised £600 so far with money still coming in.  I reckoned the purposes of the event were three-fold:
    •     to raise money for the partnership;
    •     to raise awareness of the partnership and its needs;
    •     to help people in the Meeting get to know each other better and to see what each other was doing outside of Meeting
I certainly felt each of these objectives was met. I think it is important to plan events that are fun for you to do in themselves, as well as raising money.
It was a wonderful occasion - we had about twenty exhibitors, showing paintings and drawings, photography, sculpture, quilting, calligraphy, wood carving and lots of cards.
We did not charge for admission, but the prices ranged from lots of small items which were quite cheap to a few large paintings which were expensive. Those who did not buy were generous with donations. We had about a dozen Friends serving refreshments and lots of lovely cakes were contributed. There were so many that we were able to sell some after Meeting on the following day. And we had a display of information about Congo and the Partnership, including a helpful map and the photos (on computer) of Hazel and Martin's visit last February.
The disappointment was that we did not have as many visitors as I had hoped for. There had been a lot of advance publicity amongst the Meetings and our friends, but I think people were just too busy. However those who came were most impressed by the wealth of talent in the Meeting - the quilts were especially admired. There was time to chat and there was a lovely friendly atmosphere and everyone was very supportive of other people's efforts. It inspired one Friend to take up quilting and another to try to be more ambitious with his photography.
It was a tremendous amount of work, arranging it in advance and then setting it all up on the day and taking it all down again. One Friend had some wonderful big display stands for the smaller pictures and the big pictures hung from the picture rail on the walls in the main Meeting Room.  I wouldn't want to do it again, but I am very glad I did it once.
One Friend took photos and I hope  you will be able to see some of those soon on the website.



17th November 2008
Update to Friends of Quaker Congo Partnership
from Janet Gilbraith

Notes from a meeting of the Quaker Congo Group in Leicester, 5th November 2008


Amidst the reports of heavy fighting and displacement of populations in North Kivu,  we clarified that our partners and projects in South Kivu, more than a hundred miles away, are unaffected.    We were encouraged to support international aid efforts in North Kivu via agencies such as Oxfam and Medecins sans Frontiere s.

Following the sad death of Dr Etando Mukoko, we were heartened to hear that Dr Guillaume had been appointed to replace him, and that Dr Aloys Kapama will act as consultant from the Uvira hospital, where he is based. 

Mkoko Boseka, brother of Dr Etando, had reported a determination among CEEACO members to press on to develop the projects in S Kivu,  despite the setback of  Dr Etando’s death.  He said that the women were meeting in November to identify activities for the next six months. 

Work is continuing towards finalising an Agreement between CEEACO in S Kivu and Quaker Congo Group - Cambridgeshire and Manchester and Warrington Quaker Area Meetings - in England

The Agreement, for a three-year-period, sets out planned financial support, monitoring and capacity development for three agreed projects in Abeka, based on the 34-bed hospital, trauma counselling and a loan fund to support women setting up businesses.   This work is embedded in our mutual Quaker faith and would be supported on the ground by Bridget Butt, a development consultant based in Nairobi but with existing connections with CEEACO, who would visit on a quarterly basis. She will be seeing them in November 2008, when this draft agreement will be discussed.    It is hoped that the agreement will be signed soon afterwards, when the first transfer of funds will be made.  More details will be published once the Agreement is finalised.  Martin Gilbraith ( Manchester) was thanked for all the work he has done, and continues to do on the draft. 

Publicity and fund raising are key tasks of the Quaker Congo Group in England.  The website publicises the projects world-wide and enables on-line giving.  UK donors are encouraged to Gift Aid their donations, if appropriate, to allow the Group to claim tax back and augment the sum. A generous donation from New Zealand Quakers had been promised (and has since arrived).   

Leaflets and 20 posters have been printed and distributed via local meeting houses.  Leaflets will also be distributed through each copy of The Friend, national weekly magazine, probably in February.  Hazel Shellens (Cambs), who visited the projects in 2008, will prepare an article for The Friend around  that time. 

We will probably apply for a stall and/or interest group at the Britain Yearly Meeting/Summer Gathering in York in August next year. 

Martin Gilbraith (Manchester) and Janet Gilbraith (Cambs) will research new sources of funding via Quaker Peace and Social Witness and general Quaker  and Quaker-related grant giving trusts. 

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 13 May. with discussions meantime via the very helpful yahoo group.




26th October 2008

Update to Friends of Quaker Congo Partnership
from Martin Gilbraith


Our new website is now complete and ready to launch. 

I plan to do some online promotion after our November 5th meeting in Leicester, to get other sites to link to ours and to direct interested people to visit it, so please do take another look and let me have any feedback, corrections or additions by then.

While there will always be more to add, and updates (and even corrections!) to be made, I think that all our currently existing material is now here in one way or another, and coherently presented and linked together - with the all-important online donations facility included!

What you will find new and (I hope) improved since I established the site on September 1st includes:

Home page - new text to introduce the site and what's in it

About Us - the 10 members of the two AM Congo Groups named, and the Cambridgeshire AM charity details with Delia as Treasurer as named contact

Partners - links to googlemaps to locate Abeka, to the CEEACO 2005 Yearly Meeting Epistle, to the IRC Special Report that broke the news in January of 5.4 million dead since 1998, to flickr, youtube and The Friend article with details of our Feb/Mar visit to Congo, and to QPSW and CAPI

Projects - expanded text on each of the three priority projects, with links to particular photos on flickr and videos on youtube, including the whole of the 70 minute documentary video on the Abeka hospital which is now available to view on youtube (in 8 parts). If anyone would like to volunteer to transcribe the French dialogue of this, or just one of the 8 parts, or even translate it too, then that would be very helpful - it might include some valuable information to include on the site either simply as text, or as subtitles to the video (or to particular short extracts of it)

News - this and the other two of our first periodic updates to the "Friends of" yahoogroup are now uploaded as news items, as well as links to earlier articles in The Friend and the Manchester & Warrington AM newsletter.  This isn where I shall upload each future 'Friends of' update, including I hope updates from Friends in Congo as the projects progress

Donate - now includes a working link to Everyclick.com, enabling people to donate online by credit or debit card, as well as instructions for postal donations by cheque and standing order and links to a Gift Aid declaration form and standing order form to be completed and posted to Cambridge AM. Also a disclaimer about how we will use any surplus funds should they no longer be required for the projects they were given for.

Get involved - includes links to the 'Friends of' yahoogroup for receiving updates by email, and to a Facebook group for networking with each other.  I have amended the 'Friends of' yahoogroup to be now a distribution list only, ie: only moderators (currently Janet & me) can email the group, so that people who want to be kept informed occasionally by us are nt out off by receiving unwanted random mesages from each other as well.

Also here are links for people to sign up as a fundraiser for us with Everyclick, to create their own fundraising webpage to raise funds for us - and to download materials to help them raise funds and awareness locally where they are, including our draft leaflet and display materials used at Sale, Eccles etc.,   Also, finally, a (very) cautious reference to CEEACO's request for volunteers.

Downloads - pdf documents to be downloaded, mostly already mentioned elsewhere

Guestbook - please, please, please leave a message!

Contact us - a form for online enquiries and our Cambridge postal address (but no phone number)

Links - to a range of other wesbites including those of & about British Quakers, Quakers worldwide, DR Congo and Quaker Congo Partnership

Martin



14th October 2008

Update to Friends of Quaker Congo Partnership
from Janet Gilbraith

Quaker Congo Partnership - report to AM, October 11th 2008

This is the title we have now chosen for our project, after much deliberation. We feel it best reflects the relationship we hope to establish between ourselves and the Congo Quakers.

Quite a lot is happening now. The most important news is the tragic death of the hospital doctor, Etando Mukoko. We had been told he was gravely ill but were very sad to hear only two weeks ago of his death. We are still not clear what the effect of this will be on the work that CEEACO is doing. As far as we understand, Etando did all the surgery carried out in the hospital and was the originator of the trauma programme. We are told there is to be a memorial service for him on 25th October, and our thoughts and prayers will be with them then.

Our own activities here have been enormously assisted by the setting up of two yahoo groups - one for those of us appointed by the two AMs to be the Congo Group and one for what we are calling the Friends of Quaker Congo - to include anyone who wants to be involved in what we are doing and keep up to date with it. We have also now got a web-site - www.quakercongo.org.uk and I encourage you all to look at it. It gives up-to-date news, but also information about the Quakers in Congo, including the photos and video clips Martin Gilbraith and Hazel Shellens made while they were there, and also links to a number of other useful sites - including our own AM site. Information for some of those links keeps us informed about events in the Congo, and we have heard with concern about increased fighting in the area to the north of our Friends; but are glad of the good news that the UN has been successfully resettling refugees who are returning from Tanzania.

The next step in our electronic set-up is the starting of an on-line giving facility, which we are now working on as we do not want to confine our appeal to those in this country. We already have a couple in New Zealand who have joined the yahoo group of Friends of Quaker Congo and are promising to make a sizeable donation to the fund.

The fund itself now stands at over £6,000, and we are hoping soon to be able to send the first cheque. That is now waiting on the finalising of the agreement between  the parties involved, which is moving slowly forward. Katie Frost, from Friends House, is coming to the Finance Day in Huntingdon on Nov 1st and will be talking in the afternoon about fundraising, with a particular focus on our needs in the Congo group

Meanwhile activities are being organised to raise money: for example, a drama production from the Edinburgh Fringe, to be put on at Glebe House on Nov 19th; an exhibition and sale of art works at Jesus Lane on 6th December; and an ongoing sale of second-hand books at Jesus Lane until Christmas.

We have been developing a leaflet to help us with our publicity, which has been an interesting exercise in group decision-making by yahoo group! The leaflet is now being finalised and will be sent out to all meetings and subscribers with The Friend in the New Year, but we hope to have some printed here before that for use at these various events. I have the draft pages here for you to see today.

We have consulted Marigold Bentley, at QP&SW, about the leaflet, and are generally trying to work out with her what they would like to know from us and how they can help us. We will be interested, too, to see the regular newsletters that will come from the two Friends recently appointed by QP&SW to work with AFSC based in Bujumbura in Burundi, which is very close to Uvira, in Congo.

We have had separate meetings of our groups in Manchester and Cambridge and are meeting together jointly in November. We have seen the minute of our AM trustees, of September recently, and are pleased for their clarification of the status of our group. One of the things we will be talking about at that next meeting will be how we respond to news like the news of Etando's death. There was naturally an immediate impulse to talk about sending more money, or trying to find a volunteer doctor to go, and we need to think through a more balanced reaction to such crises.

Janet Gilbraith



1st September 2008
Website established


The site is new and under development - please visit again to see what's new. In the meantime, please use the guestbook to give us your feedback, or contact us with any queries.



17th August 2008
Update to Friends of Quaker Congo Partnership
from Janet Gilbraith


Welcome to this new way of keeping everyone in touch.


The two AMs of Manchester and Warrington, and Cambridgeshire, have each appointed formal members of a Congo Group to actually do the spade work on setting up the Quaker Congo Partnership, but we very much value the interest and involvement of all of you and want to keep you in touch with what we are doing.

Representatives of the two AMs met recently in Leicester and I think Martin will soon be posting the minutes of that meeting on this site for you to see. The simple upshot is that we are in business and are now beginning the process of agreeing the terms of the partnership with the Congo Friends (referred to as CEEACO - the Communty of Friends Evangelical Churches in Congo - which is their formal title). And we are now actively raising money to fund the amounts we are proposing to send to them over the three years of the partnership. Martin is going to set up a way of making contributions on line, which may be easier for some people - though there is a small fee so we welcome contributions in cheques as well - payable to Cambridgeshire Area Quaker Meeting (Congo Fund) and sent to Delia Suffling at Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BA. Manchester Friends have already had some successful fundraising events, and Cambridge are planning an exhibition and sale of art work at Jesus Lane in December. Please feel free to intitiate any other event you can think of -we have a lot of money to raise

We are also in process of producing some publicity leaflets which we hope will soon be available to spread around amongst your Meeting and your friends .

We were worried to hear that the doctor at the Abeka hopsital, Dr Etando, has himself been ill and in another hospital. We hear he is now rather better and is convalescing.

Feel free to write in and ask questions about whatever you want to know about what we are doing.

Janet Gilbraith

About the Friends of Quaker Congo yahoogroup
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This is an open group for all those wishing to support and stay informed of the partnership between Cambridgeshire and Manchester & Warrington Quaker Area Meetings in the UK and CEEACO (Congo Yearly Meeting) in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

* To learn more about the FriendsofQuakerCongo group, please visit:
  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FriendsofQuakerCongo

* To join the group, you can subscribe by sending an email to:
  FriendsofQuakerCongo-subscribe@yahoogroups.com










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