Our partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The situation in Eastern Congo
| Since 1996, more than 6 million people have died due to war, famine, poverty and disease. Fighting between government and militia groups continues sporadically. Rape is used as a weapon of war. Alongside the devastation are huge deposits of wealth-creating diamonds, copper and coltan used in mobile phones – but wealth remains locked in the hands of the few.
- 1 in 5 children die before the age of five
- Maternal mortality is one of the highest in the world
- Most people have no access to clean water, electricity or health care
- Infrastructure, such as roads and railways, is dilapidated and underfunded.
CEEACO (Community of Evangelical Friends’ Churches in Congo) is a Quaker ‘Yearly Meeting’ of around 4,000 members. CEEACO was founded in 1991, and is based in the provinces of North and South Kivu, on the eastern borders of DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo) with Burundi and Rwanda - see map.
The country, and the east in particular, has suffered immensely from violence, instability and poverty, and natural disaster as well:
CEEACO's headquarters in the former Quaker mission house in
Abeka, a village between Uvira and Baraka in South Kivu, on the
western shore of Lake Tanganyika.
More than 6 million people have died of war-related causes since 1996 (BBC DRC Profile), and 45,000 people continue to die every month (IRC special report, January 2008)
rape has been used as a weapon of war by all sides - in 2007 MSF estimated that 75% of the rape cases it dealt with worldwide were in eastern Congo
over a million people are still internally displaced in camps
life expectancy is 54 years, and 20% of children die before the age of 5
most people live on less than $1 per day, and have no access to clean water, healthcare or education
a volcanic eruption in Goma and earthquake in Bukavu have added to the suffering.
The Quakers of CEEACO are working to rebuild their communities in peace, providing medical care, trauma counselling, income generating opportunities and other initiatives to benefit men, women and children of all religious and ethnic groups.
Quakers from Cambridgeshire and Manchester & Warrington Area Meetings visited CEEACO in early 2008 - the visit was reported in The Friend, and photos and video clips can be seen on flickr and on youtube.
We have since partnered with CEEACO to raise money to support their priority projects, and to build awareness and understanding of their situation.
The partnership has benefitted greatly from monitoring and support by local consultant Bridget Butt of Change Agents for Peace International (CAPI) - a Kenya-based international NGO working closely with Norwegian and African Quakers in programmes across the region.
Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) of Britain Yearly Meeting has also provided advice and support.