Report on Minembwe emergency humanitarian support project (March – April 2020)

24 avril 2020, 8:24 am Written by 
Published in Latest News
Read 52 times Last modified on mercredi, 07 octobre 2020 11:03

INTRODUCTION

This emergency project was initiated in February 2020. The objective of the project was to meet the urgent basic needs of 250 households (1,500 people) affected by the ethnic conflict in and around Minembwe, South Kivu, DRC. The project will meet the food needs of 250 household’s medical equipment and supplies, teachers’ families at UEMI and administrative costs. Food items included beans, flour, vegetable seeds, wheat and soya and sweat potato cuttings. The duration of the project was 2 months. Initially, Douglas Hiebert and Alex Muzuri were prepared to make a 4 day-visit (23-26 March 2020) to Minembwe, by MONUSCO flights, with the aim to see UEMI activities, the humanitarian situation in Minembwe, comfort and encourage church leaders and take part in assistance distribution. However, due to Corona pandemic, borders between DRC and Burundi were closed one day before travel. We still hope time will come when this visit will still happen. Late last year, David Weekley Foundation, Micah 6:8 Foundation and individuals’ friends of Minembwe sent their grants that supported hundreds of families. Early this year (January-March 2020), similar grants came from World Relief and Multiply through UEMI and its partner LaOlam. UEMI is using its structures for research and community development to reach out and encourage people through their resilient journey.  

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT

UEMI received funds from Multiply represented by Douglas Hiebert and proceeded to identify beneficiary families. UEMI staff worked closely with church leaders, local chiefs and the office of the Mayor of Minembwe Commune to identify the most needed people.  Secondly, UEMI staff started to buy seeds, beans and cassava flour as maize flour was not available stored at UEMI. Trainings on peacebuilding, best agricultural practices were given together with theology of work seminars to many church members and beneficiaries of the project had been given earlier in January and February 2020.

UEMI bought medical equipment so much needed to support clinics and hospitals in Minembwe. Spectrophotometer machine and selected seeds were bought in Bujumbura and carried over. This is the first ever laboratory machine to be delivered to Minembwe and support patients. But due to Corona lockdown, the materials are still in Uvira. MONUSCO promised to carry up medical equipment and supplies at earliest opportunity.

RESULTS

Food distribution:

Food is so much needed today in Minembwe and since accessibility is limited, currently most food (maize flour is flown in by small chartered planes from Bukavu and Goma. Cassava is brought from lowlands of Fizi, beans are still locally available but expensive. Vegetable seeds (carrots, cabbage, onion), wheat and soya were bought from Bujumbura at ISABU and AVET, transported to Uvira and Minembwe via the road. From Lusuku are carried on head by local transporters as MONUSCO has temporarily cancelled all civilian transportation. This is long and hard process but doable. We needed to have seeds before the season is over. However, due to bad roads, they have not yet reached. They are expected to arrive on Sunday this week (12 April 2020).

During the identification exercise it was difficult to whom to choose? All families are vulnerable not only displaced but also the hosts for 2 major reasons: They all have been affected by loss of cows; second, the host families took over 9 months sharing their food reserves with the displaced with no other assistance. They are all equally in need; third, there are so many host families who originally were poor and having the burden of hosting others (relatives, etc.). For this reason, UEMI was forced to change some budget lines and added more people for beans. At the end, in the following were people served:

Item

Number of beneficiaries

Qty received by family

Total quantity

Period of distribution

Beans

120 families

10kg

1200kg

19-20/03/2020

Cassava flour

352 families

10 kg

3520kg

23/3-2/4/2020

Vegetable seeds 10kg bought

Not yet distributed*

-

500kg

End of April 2020

Wheat and soya

Not yet distributed for 50 families**

2kg

100kg

Second week of April 2020

Potato cuttings*

20 families***

10kg

200kg

Second week of April 2020

Total of Kg distributed

 

 

5520kg

 

Note:

  • Due to Coronavirus, MONUSCO helicopters cancelled civilian flights and our cargo including vegetable seeds bought in Bujumbura had not been sent. However, they will be sent this week according. It is expected to start making nurseries for onions, cabbage and carrots, the second week of April and distribution of over at least 500 kg of seedlings to over 200 families will be done in the first week or second week of May 2020.
  • Soya and wheat were transported by road and the distribution will be done early next week to 50 families.
  • Sweet potato cuttings will also be distributed immediately after the fields are prepared, their conservations may be difficult for many beneficiaries. Twenty families are taking one bundle of 10kg.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

As so many medical infrastructures had been vandalized and looted, it was important to supply some to yet operational clinics in Minembwe to support patients such as University clinic and the General hospital of Minembwe. In past UEMI in partnership with LaOlam were able to fix water pump and electricity from solar system at the hospital of Minembwe. Some of medical equipment are still in Uvira waiting to be shipped with MONUSCO flights. Mid-January 2020, Doctors without Borders (MSF) supplied medicine in Minembwe and for this reason, we reduced our budget and bought medical equipment that are urgently needed. Secondly, World Relief supported some more laboratory equipment. With the support of Multiply a Spectrophotometer machine has been bought. With these laboratory machines, Minembwe population will benefit a complete laboratory service in operation. The clinic generator was faulty and needed a new battery replaced and was bought from the same fund. The remaining funds were added to food stuff.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE PROJECT

Due to huge numbers of needy people, and also to the hike of price on beans, some funds allocated to medical, vegetable seeds and administration were deviated support more families with cassava flour. “I am overwhelmed by daily visits of hungry mothers who come to ask for food for their children. I wish we had more hands to help…” said Pastor Eric Hakiza, the Dean of Community Development Studies and the Manager of the Humanitarian Program.

Initially, 250 families to be served with beans for food and seeds. But, due to famine in many families, we decided to buy cassava flour and distribute to many families. Over 472 families were assisted, 352 families benefited 10kg of cassava flour while 120 received 10kg of beans. In coming weeks 200 families will receive vegetable plantlets while 50 families will plant wheat and soya. Some funds on transportation were also allocated to food. It is also important to note that as all activities are not yet finished, particularly, nurseries and distribution of seedlings, funds for project administration are not all spent.

UEMI and its partners, worked tirelessly around the project’ success (this included, purchasing time, transportation from market and villages to UEMI campus. The Mayor of Minembwe, local chiefs and church leaders visited the university and the exercises of distribution. They thanked all partners of UEMI for their support and prayers. “A friend in need is a friend indeed. We have been ignored by our government; we have been overlooked by humanitarian agencies… But God has not left us! Thank you for being with us in hard times like these” Chief Meshak Muhire said. 

Our primary and secondary schools operate as private and depend on the payment of children fees. But since the conflict broke out in Minembwe and the destruction of local economic fabrics and massive displacement of thousands of people, UEMI decided to continue teaching for free and wait for God’s provision to pay teachers. This has not been an easy task. LaOlam Ministry has been of great support to lobby and find whatever contribution it gets. Resilience of people of Minembwe is beyond our imagination. The support of Multiply is with great value.

CONCLUSION

On behalf of Displaced people of Minembwe and Eben-Ezer University of Minembwe, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Multiply and Mennonite Churches from Canada and its leadership in the region and abroad for thinking about us. Minembwe still needs support and prayers. Your contribution is serving needy families. For vegetables, beneficiaries will be able to harvest and continue to serve their families and the local market. With your support, the laboratory machine is delivered to Minembwe and support the health services in the area.

RAPPORT EN PHOTO 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above hundreds of people come and wait for food assistance at UEMI

Above hundreds of people come and wait for food assistance at UEMI

Above hundreds of people come and wait for food assistance at UEMI

Above hundreds of people come and wait for food assistance at UEMI

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, cassava flour and beans distribution at UEMI center in favor of displaced people

Above, people mainly women representing households come for food assistance

Above, people mainly women representing households come for food assistance

Above, people mainly women representing households come for food assistance

Above, people mainly women representing households come for food assistance

Training on Theology of Work and Church service for displaced people at UEMI center

Training on Theology of Work and Church service for displaced people at UEMI center

Training on Theology of Work and Church service for displaced people at UEMI center

Teachers and school children in various activities including feeding time at UEMI.

Teachers and school children in various activities including feeding time at UEMI.

Teachers and school children in various activities including feeding time at UEMI.

Medical equipment: Spectrophotometer for blood biology tests to empower health services to Minembwe

Medical equipment: Spectrophotometer for blood biology tests to empower health services to Minembwe

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