January 2013 news  

Training and Development Worker completes his 1st contract

by Hannah Morrow

The Quaker Congo Partnership employed Maurice Bindende Kamwanga to provide mentoring and development of the three projects it supports in Eastern DRCongo. Bindende has now concluded his first contract and, at a meeting in November 2012, QCP -UK decided to fund a second contract to the end of September 2013, which Bindende accepted.

Bindende is Congolese, but fled to Burundi with his family during the violence in the late 1990s. He remained in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, studied for a Masters in Business Administration and has worked with UN Development Programme along with smaller NGOs in the area.

In his report at the end of his first QCP contract he stated that the resources provided by QCP-UK “remain indispensable” to the three projects (hospital, trauma counselling and micro credit scheme for women.) He said that the large population (around 50,000) still live in vulnerable conditions, though some living conditions have improved.

His presence has ensured stronger training and capacity building, reporting skills and management generally in the three projects.

He reported that at the hospital in Abeka he has been working with staff on compliance with standards required by the local Nundu Health Zone; that some rehabilitation and extension of buildings has taken place and that small, essential equipment purchases have been made. These advances are on top of the half-salaries QCP pays for all hospital staff, including the two doctors. The key aims now are providing a clean water supply and improved solar electricity. The provision of a water supply is immensely costly. Discussions about this are continuing with another NGO called PROSANI.

The concept of talking/counselling to overcome the deep stresses of trauma experienced in the past is new in eastern DRC and staff of the Trauma Clinic Peace Garden are delivering an awareness programme to overcome this. Many people are benefiting from the help they are receiving and feeling much confident in their lives. As well as individual work, the TCGP gives financial support in the form of school fees to 27 orphans from previous fighting. Two of that group will leave school later this year and the TCPG is planning support for them then. They organise sports and other peace-building activities among young people of different tribes. They are unable to respond to all requests for assistance due to lack of money.

The women's micro-credit scheme has loaned $3,000 for income generation. At present six groups are meeting, representing 37 women in all. Two groups are making tiles for use in Abeka
(the hospital) and are being encouraged to find markets elsewhere. Otherwise, individual women undergo a preparation period before taking out loans of $50-100 to set up small businesses eg selling vegetables. They use the money generated to pay for school fees, better nutrition etc.

Bindende urges donors to continue to contribute to the three projects.