ACT for Congo identifies and accompanies Congolese leaders and organizations that improve wellbeing for women and their community.  

Our partners are experienced professionals. We choose them carefully, and know them well. We have a shared working history with most of our colleagues for a half-decade or more. We choose them not only because of their inspiration and talent, but because they value self-evaluation and accountability like we do. We work with them because we share their goals and values.

We stand behind them in their work, so they are not alone in the process. That makes all the difference.

Our working relationships set us apart.

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International aid in Congo has a long record of meeting short term needs, but is not always focused on the goal of long-term change. Projects are implemented with a particular end in mind -- true change takes constant dialogue, and is not so clean and neat.

Ownership is often not extended to the people who are affected by intervention. For long-term change to take place, the people impacted need to know that they have an opportunity to participate, and they need to believe that their input is valued. People need to want the changes taking place, and they need a seat at the stakeholder's table.

ACT for Congo believes that root-level change and ongoing development cannot be imposed by outsiders. Change is organic to the people of Congo, but the local communities must have primary ownership of the process. Without local ownership, no effort will produce lasting results. And results imposed externally are not always positive. Outsiders who frame DR Congo as a problem to be fixed often cause a great deal of harm by imposing solutions without understanding long-term consequences.

Our partners understand the keys to development in Congo more clearly than most external aid organizations. They are experienced professionals whose effectiveness has been demonstrated over time. They are working in their own communities. We consult with them, but we do not direct their programs. Our role is to help them be as effective as possible in realizing their vision. We help them network and build their reputations internationally. We help them form useful collaborations, and we give them operational support.

We support them. They transform lives.

Our Goals and Values

We identify Congolese leaders in the Great Lakes region of DR Congo that are making a positive impact in their community. We choose our partners carefully, and have close relationships with them. Most often, we have a long-time shared history with them that spans a decade or more. Our partners:

  • Foster social protection and gender equity
  • Increase access to justice
  • Strengthen human capital
  • Innovate pathways to health
  • Cultivate community inclusively
  • Support sustainable development and protect the environment
  • Mobilize for disaster response

We help our partners to establish concrete metrics that ensure their work is effective. This helps them meet their program goals and build credibility, and it helps inform us of their progress.

We support programs that assist victims of sexual violence and address related vulnerability. Because they are  local professionals, they understand the unique issues and know how to give effective aid. Trust is key. People who need help are more likely to trust a community member than an outsider.

Who Are We?

Staff and Volunteers:

Judy Anderson -- Executive Director and Founder.

Dick Anderson -- Program Manager and Founder.

Robin Barnes -- Communications and Project Management.

Sharon Howe -- Fundraising Support and Guidance.

Aric Mayer -- Strategic Advisor.

Allison Sambo -- Data Collection, Metrics, and Evaluation.

Kyondra Kennard -- Social Media Planning and Support.

Deepa Rajagopal -- Messaging Support.

Elizabeth Spayde-Barnes -- Technical and Text Support.


US Board of Directors:

Paulette Chaponniere

Timothy Sneath

Bridget Nolan Satchwell


Our volunteers are the heart of this organization. ACT started because people in Congo asked us to help, and we all decided to try. Without our volunteers, we would not exist today.