DRC here I am

Takaitei conducting training in Kinshasa
Photo: ActionAid
Zimbabwe team
Communications Focal Person

I am the Communications Focal Person for ActionAid Zimbabwe.

Bienvenue, Bonjour, Biyeyi Bolamu, Mbote, Moyo, Jambo are all salutations in various languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo as one observes on arrival to the Kinshasa International Airport. I was thinking inwardly to myself, how the world can be united by the numerous languages which all mean one thing: WELCOME! The objective is to make travellers feel at home and above all feel at peace in this Central Sub Saharan African country.  I pondered again as my passport was being stamped; If the entire universe can be brought together by such simple gestures displayed in rich, different, local, regional and global languages, why can we not end the conflict in some parts of the DRC that has seen the displacement of over one million people specifically in the Kasai region of the country?

I have been deployed to the DRC starting 8 May 2018 for a month under the ActionAid Emergency Fast Action Support Team (EFAST) communications roster to support ActionAid DRC (AADRC) with communications training and content gathering on the country programme response to the Kasai conflict. The conflict is believed to have occurred following the death of a traditional leader Kamwena Nsapu in Dibaya area and this caused the displacement of over one million people in this region. Miabi, Kabeya Kamwanga and Dimbelenge territories are the most hit.  Communities have said sexual violence, early and forced marriage have increased as direct consequence of the conflict.

In response to the conflict in the Kasai region, AADRC secured resources from the UN Humanitarian (UNOCHA Humanitarian Fund) to implement a 6-month Education in emergencies project for the three provinces of the Grand Kasai region including Lomami, Sankuru and Kasai Oriental. The project aims to provide school kits as well as catch up lessons to 7,000 primary school students aged 6-11yrs affected by the conflict. In addition, the project has a series of trainings for other education stakeholders. With the UNOCHA funding which started last year as AADRC entry point in Kasai, AADRC and partners have supported 26,450 people to date through women-led protection interventions, training sessions, food and non-food item support, cash based initiatives and accountability actions.

I have a very tight schedule starting from 10 May as I begin with capacity building of staff on communications and then conduct field visits to document our response to the Kasai Conflict as part of my assignment. I look forward to meeting the community members especially the women leaders spearheading this social protection programme, being a passionate women empowerment activist myself. I would like to be part of the solution to the conflict and tell the stories of the many unsung heroines and heroes. Till we meet again in my next blog from the communities!

 A la prochaine!