Overcoming Obstacles in
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Written by Plant With Purpose on June 29, 2016 in Annual Report, Overcoming Obstacles
Plant With Purpose partnering families are overcoming some tremendous obstacles. From imposing politics, ethnic tensions, limited resources, lack of services, and feeling emotionally defeated, roadblocks to brighter futures present themselves at every turn.
Yet, as Plant With Purpose walks alongside vulnerable families, reality is changing. Despite the obstacles, hope is breaking through as lives and land are transformed.
Obstacles in DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country plagued by extreme violence that has taken place over the past twenty years, is struggling as it continues to face deeply rooted ethnic and political tensions. This tension, has and continues to cause death, sexual violence, and displacement. Despite recent intervention of peacekeepers brought in from the United Nations, a minimum of seventy armed rebel, militant groups still remain active. Millions of DRC citizens have become internally displaced, and thousands have taken refuge in other countries.
Without a stable central government, it remains unlikely that this rampant violence will be contained. With the current election well underway, there is a chance at a positive turning point. In order for this to happen, it will be necessary for the current president, Joseph Kabila, to be stopped in his attempt to illegally remain in power. Underneath all of this violence, exists a country filled with vast natural resources, which if tapped into could possibly create enough food to provide for the rest of Africa. However, until there is peace over the country, the land will not be able to live into its full potential.
One year into the pilot project in the Kakumba watershed, Plant With Purpose is positively astonished at the progress of the team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The annual goal was to launch nine savings-and-loan groups in the first year. Ten groups were established in the first three months of running the program—an indicator of the excitement to be involved with Plant With Purpose. The pilot project manager, Birori Dieudonne shares, “People are very poor. It is hard to even find $.50 on a weekly basis to save but people are doing their best to find money to save. Some work on neighbor’s farms to earn an income. People have started to do environmental activities to generate money.”
Their hard work is making a difference in the Kakumba watershed as families rise above the obstacles at hand.
Increasing Food Security
In a country where 72 percent of rural households live in poverty and nearly 40 percent of children under age five suffer from chronic malnutrition, the instruction that Plant With Purpose DRC is providing is changing lives. Anastazie, a 49-year-old mother of six, joined her communities Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). In addition to learning money management skills, Anastazie attends training on sustainable agriculture.
Anastazie is applying these new techniques, including soil-conservation barriers and biointensive gardens. Her farm now appears healthy and is more resistant to erosion. “After being trained I have started the trials in using sustainable techniques and have got good result (production) in little surface of land. Before receiving training, production was low with little income in the household but for now we are beginning to palpate good results. Before the children dined once a day but now my house eats twice. I have also taken a loan from our VSLA group and paid the school fees for my children. I am happy to have Plant With Purpose in our watershed.”
In just a few months, Plant With Purpose is changing the church’s perspectives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pastor Kasongo Kategere recently shared, “When we were invited to a training on the ‘Theology of Work,’ as a pastor and teacher of the Word of God, I was surprised to learn a new discipline that we have ignored for decades. After the training, I realized that work is compulsory for Christians. God, by His unfathomable love, placed man in a naturally pleasant environment. Like Adam, he asked us to cultivate and keep it. Despite my advanced age, I decided to accept the tree seedlings from Plant With Purpose. I just planted more than 820 trees. I know these trees cannot benefit me now, but they will be useful for later generations.”
Pastor Kategere finished by saying, “I thank, from the deep of my heart, Plant With Purpose for such concrete work done in a short time which inspires hope in our churches. I would recommend that training on the ‘Theology of Work’ be multiplied, especially for the unemployed youth of our country.”
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The Reversing Deforestation and Redemptive Agriculture sections originally appeared in the 2015 Annual Report. View the complete report here.