Why ACT for Congo?
Our founding members began working in Central Africa in 1972. Over time, they observed that foreign aid seldom produced long-term benefits. Aid projects were mostly temporary and imposed from the outside. Deep, lasting change could only come from the root -- from the people they intended to help. They made a decision to work in a radically different way.
ACT for Congo identifies and accompanies Congolese leadership and programs. Our founding members have been collaborating with non-governmental organizations from Congo for more than fifteen years.
Building Bridges: Just In -- New Video Collaboration Between HOLD-DRC and Maisha Soul's Ach'B!
This is HOLD-DRC's Cultural Group who writes music, poetry, and drama. We are working on a full translation, which we will post here in a few days. Check back in late October, 2014 for subtitles.
The title of the song, "Usinicheke," is Swahili for "Don't Laugh At Me (because I was forced.)"
Building Bridges: Maisha Soul Teams Up with Women in HOLD-DRC's "Succeeding Together" Program for Teenage Mothers.
HOLD-DRC stands for Humanitarian Organization for Lasting Development, Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are a Congolese organization aimed at raising the Human Development Index in the DRC. Succeeding Together is an integrative support program for single moms that changes the lives and future for the women and their children. Maisha Soul is a Congolese pop band made up of four brothers who decided to use their music to promote hope, peace, and social justice.
They need a little of your help to share their message. Please learn more about them, and share their video wherever you can. Share their message of hope!
Promoting Opportunity: Inspired Voices Travel to Seattle For Leadership Training.
ACT for Congo provides scholarship support to individuals who we believe will contribute positive leadership for DR Congo in the future. Micheline Mwendike has been selected as a fellow for iLEAP in Seattle this October, 2014. She is an activist, journalist and photographer, who is focused on gaining access to roads and clean water for people in Goma, DR Congo. Her strong community leadership and principle make her one of the luminary voices in Eastern Congo.
Fostering Change: Peer Leaders Teach Residents About Ebola.
Peer leadership is core to the work ACT for Congo supports. Congolese teachers can reach people in neighborhoods and villages where foreign aid workers cannot. Peer educators can train new peer educators, and they can reach people more quickly than if they were centrally located.
Peer educators have been teaching communities about the sources of communicable diseases for two years, and can be more effective than government campaigns. People who learn how to recognize symptoms of Ebola and what steps are necessary to keep it from spreading through the population are less likely to panic or spread rumors. They also learn similar hygiene about how to avoid and treat diseases like diarrhea -- a common preventable cause of death in Congo.
Strengthening Programs: Our Partners in Congo improve field survey methods with University of Wisconsin.
Our partners know that international standards of evaluation, accounting and reporting are essential to communicate their results and build credibility. Quantifying results that are well verified and meaningful are key to quality improvement: recognizing what is useful, what is not working, and what lessons are being learned from their work.
Careful observation essential for determining need. Assessing vulnerability contexts for the people in a community is subtle, and requires an insider's knowledge as well as and outsider's eye. Our partners in Congo and researchers at University of Wisconsin are developing a community-based participatory research program where they are both object of the study and informed by it. This helps them improve the quality of their programs while they uncover information they need to design effective programs for the future.
Gender Equity: A Key to Human Development.
We believe that every member of a community is valuable, even when their skills, language, or culture are different from ours. Sexual violence, gender-based violence, ethnic hatred fanned for political purposes destroy futures for everyone. Our partners teach that each individual has important gifts to contribute to society.
Many do not know that DR Congo passed a new constitution in 2006 as part of its post-war transition. This new law gives women strong parity and legal rights. It also has strong safeguards against sexual violence and protections for women and children. The age of consent is 18 years, so it is illegal for an older man to marry a young girl. Gender equity is possible in DR Congo. The people have to learn about the law before they can enforce it, however. Our partners are working hard to make that a reality.
Why DR Congo? Because it is the Heart of Africa.
We believe that Democratic Republic of Congo has a huge influence far beyond its borders. A peaceful, productive Congo will have a positive impact on the whole continent. Congo's natural resources, diverse, hard-working and creative population, and its art and music have influenced artists, economies and science around the world. Its wars have as well. We work with Congolese who're building peace and providing access to information and training that will improve health for women and their communities.