Fall 2019 Impact Report
A Strong Congo Through Education
Celebrating 20 years of educational partnership with UPC 1998-2018, Education Congo is also exploring new relationships to address growing need!
Education Congo (EC) organizes annual visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In May 2019 EC Board President Ernie Ross and Board Member Dr. Margaret Loewen visited our partners to monitor progress of our projects.
In addition to scholarships, EC has funded special projects upon request. These projects have included rehabilitation of dormitories near the rural hospitals where medical students are required to complete 12 months of rural training, purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser for the transportation of students and physicians, medical equipment for the student infirmary, and a research study to determine the well-being and contributions of the medical students after graduation.
I was fortunate to be one of those visiting Congo this spring along with EC Board President Ernie Ross and EC supporter Merle Froslie. We spent 10 days in Kinshasa visiting the campus of UPC multiple times to talk to students and to review the university’s implementation of processes that have been agreed upon by both parties. This included:
- selection of student scholarship recipients
- transfer of scholarship funds to recipients’ accounts
- documentation about each scholarship recipient
- student notification of the gift they received from our organization
We also visited Kimpese, the location of one of the three rural hospitals where EC has contributed to the construction of dormitories for the medical students. The visits we made provided opportunities to have conversations with all the students who were living there. These students were outspoken in their appreciation for the opportunity they were given to experience rural medicine as a result of the UPC internships. Many were from Kinshasa and had never seen life in rural DRC. It was an eye-opener and a call-to-action that they found profoundly compelling. There is hope for the future of this beautiful country!
– Dr. Margaret Loewen, EC Board Member
Université Évangélique en Afrique
(UEA) is a Christian university located in Bukavu, a city of close to a million people, in eastern Congo on the border with Rwanda.
UEA offers degrees in theology, agronomy, medicine, social sciences, and economics and management.
The medical school is closely affiliated with the Panzi Hospital, which was founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Dr. Mukwege also serves as Vice Dean in UEA’s medical school.
Several years ago, Education Congo (EC) and UEA started a dialogue on areas where our two organizations might partner. These discussions lead to Linda James, Phil Kliewer and me visiting the university a little over two years ago. We were very impressed with the leaders’ clarity of vision and their emphasis on actively serving the regional community. For instance, the School of Agronomy offers farmers a soil testing service and advice on improving crop yield.
Following that visit, Board Members Phil Kliewer and Bruno Baerg have worked with Dr. Adrien Mutabesha, Dean of the School of Theology, on a project to assess the effectiveness of church engagement in conflict resolution within the region. Last year, EC also started providing scholarships, which went to two students in their final year of agronomy and two students who will graduate in economics and management in two years.
In May of this year Margaret Loewen and I continued those discussions with Dr. Mutabesha and Rector Gustave Nachigera, UEA’s leader. Those discussions were very productive and led to an agreement to continue providing scholarships and working on the reconciliation project.
In addition, EC will assist UEA in facilitating contacts with North American universities and organizations.
For me, a highlight was meeting the four recipients of EC scholarships. The university selected these young women based on need and ability. They are clearly very bright, well-spoken and poised, and have clear visions of what they wish to accomplish in life. None would have been able to continue her education without your support. We thank you!
– Ernie Ross EC Board President