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 Workshop

On March 5th, 10 of ACN’s volunteers participated in a Community Development workshop lead by our very own Dr Emma Campbell. The aim of the workshop was to promote discussion and learning amongst our members and ensure that we all had a good understanding of what the foundation of our organisation, “community development”, really meant.

We participated in some team building exercises, working on acknowledging each others skills and recognising how each of us was able to contribute to the organisation in a substantial way.

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Community development is based on the foundation of working closely with the community, not for them. Rather than developing programs and projects based on what we perceive to be the communities need, we ask them the changes they’d like to see. As such, we ensure that our projects are helping the community in the way that they need.

Community development also places an emphasis on utilising existing assets. To maximise benefit while minimising costs, we don’t just send over whatever materials we think would make things easier. We look at what the community already has that could help with the project. By looking at the community’s existing assets, we can begin connecting them in ways that multiply their power and effectiveness.

Overall, this training session taught us a great deal about how we will run this organisation and showed that asking questions is key to not only project development, but the success of our organisation.

For each of our projects we will Plan, Do, Observe and Reflect upon our process.

If you like the sound of what we are doing and would like to contribute, you can donate here or volunteer with us.