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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.

Université Protestante au Congo - (UPC) is our oldest partner with scholarships being provided either as a Direct Gift or as a result of investments called Named Funds that earn annual dividends to fund scholarships on a continuing basis.

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

180We 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

Education Congo has a new website! It has an entirely new look, is user and mobile friendly and allows you to explore all about Education Congo, our partners in the DRC and our projects and programming. The internet address is the same:

Thank you for your investment in the people of the Congo (DRC) and in Education Congo’s mission to provide educational opportunities!

March 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!

Your investment in Congolese students is transforming their lives and their nation...

Over the past four years some 367 students have benefitted from Education Congo’s scholarship grants. Your gift enables aspiring young adults to choose a career path that will lead to transformation of themselves and their local communities. Thank you for supporting higher education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

Here are some profiles of medical students we have been highlighting in the past year, who are achieving their goals of transformation:

Mantele Mobinde is specializing in pediatrics to work with a particularly vulnerable segment of Congolese society - infants.

Biziki Miamungu wants to work in the area of preventative medicine in the public health sector. He noted that “One does not become a doctor to become rich but to serve others.”

Nsongo Ngole is focusing in psychiatry and pediatrics to address issues relating to the very high infant mortality rate in the DRC.

Djonga Onaska has a passion to become a psychiatrist so as to serve his country’s needs.

Each of these students, and many more, have chosen a vocational focus (see infographic above) that will enable them to become significant contributing members of society. Herein lies the hope of our long-standing partnership with UPC (Université Protestante au Congo) – an education that leads to opportunity and to transformation.

Education Congo Covers Critical Need for UPC Medical School Interns

Education Congo has contributed to a new vehicle to transport interns and training professors to rural hospitals. Rural internships are a crucial part of training for these students. The ability to put “boots on the ground” in rural hospitals not only helps the interns gain practical experience in caring for patients, it also supports these hospitals with new staff who have been provided with the latest medical knowledge and techniques.

The Evangelical Medical Institute of Kimpese, a full service teaching hospital with 400 beds, is 127 miles (205 km) from Kinshasa – about a 4-hour drive over fairly good roads. UPC places over 60 students there each year.

The Vanga Evangelical Hospital is a full service teaching hospital and nursing school with 480 beds. It is 300 miles (485 km) from Kinshasa, a 10-12 hour drive over very poor roads. UPC places about 37 students in Vanga each year.

The roads are very rough and quite hazardous for vehicles and in the rainy season there is no way of knowing if or when parts of the roads may be flooded or washed out. Conditions like these take a constant heavy toll on motor vehicles.

The previous medical school Toyota Land Cruiser was used for transporting interns as well as other needs of the medical school but suffered a serious accident.

UPC and the medical school asked if Education Congo could provide urgent funding to cover at least part of the cost of a new vehicle. Education Congo donors responded rapidly and generously to this request and raised $37,000 in funds in addition to the $18,000 UPC was able to provide, for a total cost of $55,000. A new Toyota Land Cruiser was purchased in Kinshasa and is now used, managed and insured by the university.

Without the good will of donors like you, this need would not have been met as quickly and effectively as it was. Thank you for your support!

Education Congo Partners in the DRC