2012 News Items

October 2012
Parliamentary Question in House of Commons on 31 October, 2012

Democratic Republic of the Congo

1. Ian Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab): What recent assessment her Department has made of the humanitarian implications of Rwanda's support for militia activity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. [125601]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Justine Greening): The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has worsened; in fact, 2012 has seen about 2.3 million people displaced, which is the highest number in many years.

Read more: House of Commons /  31 Oct 2012 : Column 215

August 2012
Training and Development Worker prepares for first visit to Abeka

The Quaker Congo Partnership in the UK has appointed a Training and Development Worker to make three visits to their three projects over the next six months.

He is Maurice Bindende Kamwanga, Congolese born, now living in nearby Bujumbura, Burundi, with more than 14 years' experience in project management, including governance and crisis recovery. He is a member of the UN Development Programme's Democratic Roster of Experts, and fluent in four African languages - Swahili, Lingala, Kirundi and Kinyarwanda - plus English and French.

His brief is to work alongside staff in QCP's three projects in Abeka, S Kivu: the hospital, the trauma counselling clinic and the women's credit programme. He will offer suggestions on data collection, report writing and general development of the projects, and work with the staff groups on problem solving. His visits, each of 4-5 days, are planned for August, October and December.

Previously QCP UK employed Bridget Butt, of the development organisation, CAPI, to visit on a quarterly basis to offer support and assistance. She returned to Canada last year.

Your donations will help fund this valuable service to the people and projects in Abeka.

July 2012
Report published by Oxfam: ‘FOR ME, BUT WITHOUT ME, IS AGAINST ME’
Why efforts to stabilise the Democratic Republic of Congo are not working

Read Oxfam report here.

April 2012
Visit to projects supported by QCP
by Hazel Shellens and Catherine Putz 

In April 2012 two Friends from Britain, Hazel Shellens and Catherine Putz, visited the three projects in South Kivu run by our partners CEEACO and supported by the QCP: the hospital in Abeka, the trauma clinic also in Abeka with its outreach post in Makabola, and the microcredit scheme. Their detailed report will be considered at the QCP committee meeting in early June.

Find out more about their visit by reading extracts from the report and looking at the photographs they took!

May 2012
Definite Progress...
by Hannah Morrow

Two of our members, Hazel Shellens and Catherine Putz, visited Abeka, S Kivu in DR Congo in mid-April. Hazel had visited in 2008 and this was Catherine's first trip. Their full report will be available shortly. 

In the meantime, it was clear that the money and mentoring provided by the Quaker Congo Group, together with the hard work of our Congolese partners, has produced real progress:
  • Hospital buildings have been expanded and improved, staff are paid on time (QCP pays half the salary bill), pharmaceuticals are available, and a four-wheel drive ambulance stands ready
  • 12 counsellors have been trained by local organisations that understand local people and the particular traumas of life in eastern DRC
  • A small trauma clinic with two bedrooms, consulting/interviewing rooms and an office is now in use
  • Women funded to start small businesses show increased skills and confidence
  • 27 young people, orphaned by violence, receive financial help with school fees, sports and creative activities. They're now increasingly confident teenagers, looking ahead into adult life.   
A total of £80,000 has been raised which includes generous grants from Quaker Peace and Social Witness and the Radley Trust, which enabled the purchase of the ambulance and the trauma counselling training respectively.  

Hazel and Catherine took gifts of medical equipment including a wind up foetal heart monitor, computers, digital cameras and solar charges.  

Please sign up to make one-off or regular donations towards this valuable work. 

Please see the photos of the trip as well as our new leaflet.

March 2012
Nearly ready to go...
by Hannah Morrow

We are working hard on the final arrangements for a visit by two of our number to our colleagues in Abeka, S.Kivu, DR Congo in April.  Hazel Shellens,  who last visited in 2008, will be accompanied by Catherine Putz, who has a long-time interest in and commitment to Africa, and will be visiting Abeka for the first time. 

There are three main aspects of the visit:
  • Catching up on progress and current needs of our colleagues who run a small hospital, trauma counselling centres and a women's credit scheme
  • Discussing and, hopefully, agreeing a new three-year partnership agreement 2012-14.   This would make provision for employing a part-time Congolese Training and Development Worker  to work with staff on all three projects
  • Delivering equipment which we are at present buying including a wind-up foetal heart monitor, three small computers,  solar charging equipment and cameras for recording progress and evidence to upload onto the website.   Some of the equipment we sent earlier was raided by marauding militias.  In the DRC it is difficult to prevent this sort of thing.  Manchester Quakers have made a donation for this equipment. 
We have been sending grants of £7,000+ every six months towards the running costs of the hospital, the trauma clinic and the credit loan scheme and have had additional money from the Radley Trust for training the trauma clinic workers and from Quaker Peace and Social Witness to help purchase a 4WD ambulance.  Since 2007 we have sent almost £90,000 – through donations from individuals and charitable organisations.  

We have just enough money in our UK account to make the promised July payment of £7,000 and to support Hazel and Catherine’s visit.    

Late last year there were national elections in the Congo. Some accounts suggest that they were not entirely fair in the way they were conducted and the stresses from the elections have not been fully resolved.  Earlier this year there were heavy rains resulting in broken communications and mudslides. Unfortunately this resulted in serious damage to the little hospital in Abeka.

The medical knowledge of a member of our committee is proving very helpful as we try and understand the conditions in which the hospital is working. The committee also includes a number of consultants who have knowledge of Africa and development work and can help us with their expertise. 

We are planning a big fund raising campaign once Hazel and Catherine have been able to share their impressions of their visit with us. This will help us match our funds closely with the needs of our partners in Congo. 

Hazel and Catherine will take part in the Friends World Conference in Kenya on the way back – a once in a generation opportunity for Quakers from around the world to meet and discern together.  

Hazel and Catherine are likely to return with lots of  information and ideas as to future developments.   We would be grateful for your help.