Our new and improved communications team!

AusCongo is excited to welcome Aaron and Tash to the communications team!

Aaron is currently studying Business at QUT majoring in Advertising with a minor in Film. This is his last year at QUT and he is very much looking forward to graduating.

Aaron is originally from the Sunshine Coast. He grew up on a farm in the Mary Valley and moved to Brisbane for university. Since then, he has been working in retail and hospitality industry. In his spare time, he enjoys getting back to nature, visiting beaches and national parks. He says “studying film means that I’m also very keen on TV and movies, my ideal down time is sitting back with some good food and a great movie, preferably of the Sci-Fi or fantasy genre”. He joined ACN because it was an awesome opportunity for him to help others and make a positive difference, while gaining some valuable experience. He is looking forward to work with the team and learn all that he can in his journey with ACN.

Tash is currently in her final semester of university at QUT. She is studying Public Relations and Marketing. Aside from university, she works as a Dance Teacher at Danzart Studio and casually at Chris’ IGA Carina as a register operator. As a dance teacher, she loves and enjoys educating children. She is an avid reader and passionate about living a healthy and an active lifestyle.

Tash wants to use her existing PR knowledge, skills and experience to support ACN’s PR activities and wants to continue developing her PR expertise. Throughout high school and university, she has been constantly volunteered at multiple charities. She loves positively using her knowledge to benefit those less fortunate than her.

We’re looking forward to seeing

Our New Partnership

Costa reflects on our journey to partnering with Rotary:

As part of developing our organisation’s sustainability, ACN works closely with other incredible organisations. Recently, I have formed a partnership with Rotary. When I discovered that Rotary shares a lot of the same values as ACN and has a large global network with great capacity for fundraising, I started attending weekly meetings every Thursday since July 2016. In mid-October, I was recognised as a member.

I am very impressed by what, how and why they do all the things they do and I’m excited to announce that ACN is working on developing a stronger relationship with Rotary. They really love humanity – a trait that I really value in an organisation. They have accepted me, not on face value, but by listening to what I have to say and understanding what drives me.

As time went on, they asked me to present my story and that of ACN, which I did on February 11, 2017 and they have since asked us to present a project proposal they can support. Whichever project we decide on should become a partnership project between Rotary Club Mbuji-Mayi and ACN Mbuji-Mayi. I have now started working with Jean Calvin to contact Rotary in Congo to begin making progress, and our Project’s Director, Cassandra, will be assisting with project development.

We have a lot to learn from the Rotary Club, and I’m looking forward to see where this new relationship takes us. There is potential to work with Rotary and partner with other amazing organisations and I believe that if we all work together, the future is very bright.

Capacity Building 2016

This year, we were able to run a capacity building project with our Mbuji-Mayi community

The capacity building project incorporated improvements to the AusCongo Community Centre in Mbuji-Mayi. Improvements to the facilities including the purchase and installation of a generator, new laptop and an Internet connection were made. Unfortunately, due to a lack of on-going funding, we were unable to retain the Internet connection long term. We are hopeful however, that we will be able to run projects soon that will help the local community become self-sufficient enough that the Community Centre will be able to support itself and the staff without us sending money each month. Stay tuned for updates!

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This project also included monitoring of our micro-finance program which is still running successfully, with loans of up to $100 being repaid regularly. We are very proud of our micro-finance program and what we have been able to help the local community achieve. We are continuing to run programs in the community centre that educate community members on how to become more self-sufficient.

We are also happy to report that our programs are helping children through school, with their parents now able to afford school fees through various ACN projects.

Would you like to help AusCongo Network? We’re always looking for new volunteers to help the Network produce valuable projects. If you’re interested, please email media@auscongo.org.

Agriculture Project 2016

AusCongo team in field

2016 has been a busy year for the AusCongo Network. We took the time to reflect on our achievements in October at our AGM. We are particularly proud of the community development projects we managed to run over the last 12 months.

We successfully ran an agriculture project where we were able to get the community working on the 14 hectares of land we recently purchased thanks to a grant from the Entrust foundation. On this land, the community were able to plant 3 hectares of cowpea fields and a further 3 hectares of Cassava. While the harvest of the Cowpea crop was not as successful as we had hoped, it will have enriched the soil with nitrogen, which will be beneficial to future crops. The Cassava will be harvested in November and sold.

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Not only were we able to produce crops, but also successfully reduced unemployment in the area by employing labourers to work the land. Over 450 people participated in this agriculture project. The project paid salaries to labourers who were then able to support their families, pay for education, clothes and food for their children and dependents.

Finally, this project was able to help 35 children – 20 male and 15 female – complete their secondary education. By working on the land after school the students were able to earn the money they needed to pay for school.

 

Community Development and AusCongo

AusCongo Network is founded on the principles of Community Development. Our founder, Costa, strongly believes the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Motivated by this proverb, Costa and the AusCongo team, follow a community development model when starting and completing any project. We prefer not to presume what Mbuji-Mayi community needs, but have our team there investigate for us. This team, lead by Jean Calvin, interact with the community members and research what the community needs and what the potential cost may involve. This research is then sent to us in Brisbane, Australia, where our Projects Team develops a proposal and seeks funding – often through our partner organisation, WRA.

When our proposal is approved, the funding is sent straight to Jean Calvin who manages the budget and reports back to us with continual progress and an evaluation of the final project.

Keep your eyes peeled for more projects information coming soon!