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19Mar/16
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AGRICULTURE INITIATIVE IN EASTERN CONGO

AGRICULTURE INITIATIVE IN EASTERN CONGO

After initial contacts with Forum Syd/Sida in the spring of 2012, Hope In Action has over the past 7 years been trusted to run a number of big agriculture projects in the farming districts of East Congo in cooperation with local organisations.

To be able to receive grants in the higher categories, extensive and volunteer-led work from Hope In Actions board and active members are needed with applications, reports and audits. It is also required of Hope In Action to contribute with up to 10% of the cost of the project from private funds.

Nevertheless, it is a job we are grateful to do. To be able to see the rewards of our work through appreciation from project leaders and their families as well as seeing the socio-economic improvements the projects contribute with. This is communicated in words, pictures and numbers through the many reports from our Swedish project leader and the local organisation we work with as well as our own follow-up trips to Eastern Congo.

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A more extensive description of the different projects can be found below.

Complete Annual Reports and Final Reports sent to Forum Syd/Sida are available upon request.

A so called “small development project” called “Agriculture project in North Kivu” (project number 300006154) was already completed in July to December 2013 together with our local partner VIVAG (Vivre loins des Vagues) and with practical support from our daughter organisation in Goma, Hope in Action/DR Congo.

A total of 161 women was recruited for a week long seminar in six different locations, educating in human and women’s rights, farming techniques and basic finance. The project was very successful and has been a strong contributor to the completion of later projects since many of the women taking part in it has continued on as local assistants together with agriculturists and project managers.

Forum Syd contributed to a “Pilot study trip” (proj nr 30006428) in October of 2013, with the possibility to plan an even bigger development project in the region. A documentary was made that has later been shown at Forum Syd and to many other big organisations that have shown interest.

The development project “The Women Cooperative’s agriculture iniativate in East Congo” (proj nr 30006759) was completed together with our local partner VIVAG in the North Kivu province during 2015 and 2016. The project contributed to a measurable improvement of living conditions, especially for women in farming areas.

The goal was, with the help of the project, to improve the women’s knowledge in human rights, finance, sustainable agriculture, and female leadership.

The time and place for the seminars were organised and fields were rented for practical learning and knowledge exchange. The flow of agricultural products from farming fields to bigger villages was supported through the access of communal crop storage in local warehouses and transportation to sell the crops in the provincial capital Goma.

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More than 1 500 women were recruited in six different villages. The reports shows great dedication and a noticeable improvement in harvest, distribution and sales opportunities. As well as an improvement of the socio-economic situation of large groups of vulnerable and marginalised people. The positive impact of these projects are long term expected to be decisive to a lot of the participants that, despite a complex reality, get the opportunity to form strong, cooperative groups and improve their ability to make a living.

Indirectly impacted by this project are the families and children, an estimated total of about 9 000 people.

This success led to support for another project “Continued development support to the women’s cooperative agriculture initiative in Eastern Congo” (proj nr 30007389) that was completed in 2017-2018 again together with the local organisation VIVAG. Another 1000 women from different villages were part of this project. Just like before courses on women’s rights during the construction of a new society, finances, and cooperative agriculture with distribution and sales were offered. The final reports from this project will be compiled in September 2019.

Stimontanulasy with project 7389, during a follow-up trip in spring 2017, a new partnership was established together with our sister organisation Hope In Action/DR Congo with local partner ASAFR (Act to Save AFRica).

This led to additional support from Forum Syd for the development project ”The empowerment of women and capacity building of solidarity groups i coffee farming districts, South Kivu, DRC” (proj nr 300007748).

During spring 2018, 1200 people, 90% women and 10% men, from different villages in the Bulenga areas coffee district, south-west of Goma, were recruited.

The goal is to give families the opportunity to form solidarity groups, demand their human rights with a special knowledge on women’s rights and contribute to the stabilisation and socio-economic development of their local communities.

We could, during a follow-up trip in fall 2018, note that the operation is in full process with committed participants led by competent local project leaders. The project will be going on for the whole of 2019 and final report of the project will be done in 2020.

The Swedish organisation Hope in Actions “Own Input”

One of the prerequisites to get these public grants from Forum Syd/Sida is to contribute with 5-10% of the project budget with privately raised means. This means that to get a million SEK grant, we have to raise about 50-100 000 SEK on our own.

Over the years, this has been made possible through donations, “investments” from members, sponsors, and partners i.e. individuals, companies, organisations and church communities that share our view, that in the bigger picture, the action of Hope In Action needs to be seen as “An investment in our common future”.

Find out how to donate money and become a member of Hope In Action LINK.

Translated from Swedish by Frida Jonasson

 

Updated: 2019-09-01

19Mar/16
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MAMA JEANNE’S ORPHANAGE IN GOMA

KW3A2406We support this orphanage, that is also working as a boarding school for about 200 children. These children have become orphaned after the conflicts in Eastern Congo.

Mama Jeanne is an amazing woman who has been committed to the children of Congo for a long time. Even before the start of the war in the 1990’s Mama Jeanne was running a small-scale orphanage in Masisi (about 17 miles West of Goma) and it was during this time the founder of Hope In Action got to know her.

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Mama Jeanne has made herself known through the years for caring for these kids as if they were her own. And despite having a big family of her own she always finds time for others. She cares for the children until they are old enough to start their own lives or until she can find a relative willing to care for them.

Until recently, a women’s center was situated next to the orphanage which was also run by Mama Jeanne. The two were naturally integrated which benefited both the women and the children. Unfortunately, due to an increase in orphaned children needing a place to be cared for, there was no space to keep the women’s center which today operates as an orphanage too.

Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2015
As a confirmation of their well-managed, executed and engaging humanitarian work, partly during unsafe circumstances in a dangerous area of conflict, Mama Jeanne together with her co-worker Mama Jeannette and Dr. Mukwege at the Panzi hospital was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2018 Dr. Denis Mukwege was awarded the prize.

In 2017 we were able to start building a new kitchen at the orphanages in Goma. After a hand grenade completely destroyed the kitchen, all the food had to be prepared outside over an open fire in the courtyard. After an extensive fundraising effort during the summer of 2017 enough money was raised to build a new kitchen. In the pictures our manager Mama Jeanne can be seen supervising the construction and symbolically laying the first stone.
We want to once again thank every one of our amazing donors!

The construction was finished in 2018, brick stoves and ovens made it easier to cook since only a fraction of the wood or coal was needed compared to before. Which vastly improved the efficiency and was hugely appreciated at the orphanage. Unfortunately there was not enough money to complete the dining room, something that was temporarily solved by the kids by taking turns using it and eating at the kitchen floor. Raising more money to finish the dining room is a priority since it could also be used as a classroom.

During 2018 toilets and showers were also built with the help of raised funds from Sweden and Norway. Two large water cisterns were also bought to which was a huge relief since there is no longer a need to walk long distances to a well to collect water. Without the water cisterns no showers could have been built, and good hygiene is key to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the children.

A new fundraising effort has been made to raise money to new beds, mattresses and blankets for the children’s dorms. The old beds are in bad shape and new mattress and blankets are always needed. The plan is to build new bunk beds in iron, made to last for a long time.

Mamma Jeanne is a very driven woman who understands that it is hard to rely on just donated goods. Therefore she has for years grown her own vegetables and roots, has a chicken coop to get eggs and from time to time be able to cook a hen or two. A few years ago she received two cows through a Norweigan donation which will help provide milk to the youngest children, about a deciliter every other day. A while back she was also given some pigs that have now multiplied. Through renting a field close by she has managed to grow enough corn and different kinds of beans to sell the surplus, the money she has made through that is used to pay the teachers and staff at the orphanage. Mama Jeanne trust the help of God and is a hard worker. She is affectionate and caring towards everyone, learn each child’s name, encourage them, hug them, and know all their troubles and accomplishments.

Mama Jeanne understands the value of giving the children a real education, so despite it being too expensive to send all the children to normal schools in the city where they need a uniform, she has it taken care of. On the orphanage’s grounds a school building with committed teachers teaching children from primary to middle school is situated. Several of the teachers are previous children of the orphanage now grown up, educated teachers teaching at the schools in the city, returning to the orphanage in their spare time to teach the children there as a thank you to Mama Jeanne.

But to be able to hire paid teachers, Mama Jeanne has opened up the school for children outside the orphanage as well. The surrounding area is very poor which means a lot of the children do not have the financial means to attend the schools in the city. At the orphanages school education is a lot cheaper and no uniform is needed. This has improved the relationships in the area and led to a decrease in theft of the orphanages crops and animals.

When visiting the orphanage we were moved by seeing several of the kids carrying their handicaped friends to school. When speaking to them they said “everyone wants to learn how to read, write and count even if they can’t walk!”

In 2019 Mama Jeanne’s orphanages became its own foundation in Congo! She wants to be able to be as independent as possible and are working tirelessly to do so. But she still needs some continued support from our organisation, with 5000 SEK a month and practical help with constructions and other things that might occur in this unstable part of Congo.

Find out how to donate money and become a member of Hope In Action LINK.

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IMG_5883Translated from Swedish by Frida Jonasson 

Updated 2019-07-08

19Mar/16
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MAMA JEANNETTE’S WOMEN’S CENTRE IN MASISI AND GOMA

MAMA JEANNETTE’S WOMEN’S CENTRE IN MASISI AND GOMA

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At the Hope in Action Women’s Centre in Masisi and Goma, Mama Jeannette is taking care of women who has been victims of rape or exposed to physical or mental harm.

For many years now, Mama Jeannette has been the manager of our Women’s Centers in Goma and Masisi. These Women’s centers takes care who needs help after being victims of violence. These Women’s centers are both well functioning and organised and offers both an outreach function as well as support. When needed, women are referred for medical/surgical treatment, most commonly to our hospital Kyeshero in Goma, and are also responsible for all the after care and social rehabilitation needed.

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During the follow up phase, daily activities are offered as work-oriented rehabilitation. The women gather for different kinds of workshops, such as sewing, weaving/knitting, soap-making, bread baking, and such, that eventually can be used to make a living. A lot of them also needs support in learning to read, write and do simple math. Some of the participants for our agricultural initiative (read more about the project LINK) are recruited here.

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Water for All

Thanks to donations from Water for All/SE our women’s centers have been able to get access to fresh water thanks to new pipelines connected to communal water plants.

This work was carried out in 2016. In Masisi and Goma water points are located outside the houses, and in Goma there are even newly built toilets and showers. During a follow-up trip, representatives from Hope In Action/Sweden were present during the opening of the Water for All facilities. We were met with singing, dancing and heartwarming gratitude. The access to fresh water means a lot to these vulnerable and affected women and children.

Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
As a confirmation of their well-managed, executed and engaging humanitarian work, partly during unsafe circumstances in a dangerous area of conflict, Mama Jeannette together with her co-worker Mama Jeanne and Dr. Mukwege at the Panzi hospital was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2018 Dr. Denis Mukwege was awarded the prize.

In the fall of 2018 representatives from Hope In Action/Sweden visited Goma in Eastern Congo to follow up on a different project. When visiting Mama Jeannette’s Women’s Centre we saw an expansion of the daily operations due to the increase of raped and injured women seek care at the center. In a war torn Congo, rape is used as a weapon of war. This affects not only the women but also their families and entire villages.

The Women’s center in Goma can only accept the most vulnerable and hurt, but the amount of women coming and being accepted to the center is still large.The center is struggling financially and sometimes the women have to share beds, a lot of them on mattresses on the floor. Despite this, there is a huge gratitude for the help they receive among the women, something they were eager to share with us during our visit. The staff at the center is doing an amazing job with the scarce resources on hand, managing to bring light to these women that has experienced something so traumatic. Offering them a more positive way back where singing and dancing is often a part of it.

In 2018 Mama Jeannette’s Women’s Center received a large water cistern from Water for All to secure a steady flow of water. It is common that the city’s water system can not deliver enough water, so it was a huge relief and help for the center to be able to collect and store their own rain water.

The same year Google Norway wanted a safe space to try out a pilot project with a solar cell powered mill and reached out to Hope In Action’s project coordinator Dan Andersson. The installation of this mill, meant to be used to grind corn and flour, was managed and financed by Google Norway.  This big investment was hugely beneficial for the women participating in our agricultural projects and was placed at the center’s courtyard surrounded by high walls and a big iron gate. A safe room for all the batteries was also built. After a technical and extensive installation was carried out by Google Norway the pilot was a success. The solar powered mill also impacted the way the center was able to educate the women in our agricultural projects, increasing the money they are able to make and survive on. Despite being in a constant war zone, a lot of things are happening that ignites hope and build strength to keep fighting!

We are currently working with several sponsors donating the money needed for the daily operations at the center. Many wonderful donors has helped financing the installation of new windows and new flooring to make the beds stand steadier but we still need more help, this time money to be able to build a new kitchen for this vital and important work.

Find out how to donate money and become a member of Hope In Action LINK.

 

Translated from Swedish by Frida Jonasson

Updated: 2019-09-01