UMCOR / Our Work / UMCOR Field Offices / Where We Work / Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC Fast Facts

› Distribution of 30,000 nets in Lubumbashi, reaching 13,557 households including 15,461 children under the age of 5 and 3,634 pregnant women

› Over 26,000 individual house-to-house awareness visits made in Kamina, to share information about Malaria and UMCOR’s anti-Malaria campaign

› 72,000 people directly benefit from UMCOR DRC’s food security programs

Background

The United Methodist Church has a long and far-reaching presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in the Katanga Province. When fighting broke out in 1999, the local United Methodist Churches reached out to assist the internally displaced persons (IDPs), who had arrived as refugees from the wars in Rwanda and Burundi. The United Methodist Church of DRC has been recognized as a major contributor among the faith-based community in helping the peace process take hold.

In response to the extensive needs in the country, UMCOR opened an office in DRC in October 2002. UMCOR DRC works primarily in the southeastern province of Katanga with programs that focus on health, nutrition and agriculture.

HEALTH

Anti Malaria Campaign

Kamina: The goal of this two-year program is to contribute to reducing the morbidity and mortality related to malaria in pregnant women and children less than one year of age in the health zones of Kamina, Bukama, and Kabondo Dianda in the North Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The program consists of two main program areas:

Recognizing that a continuous and adequate supply of recommended anti-malarial drugs is key to delivering timely and effective treatment at health care facilities and success in the prevention and treatment of malaria, UMCOR is working closely with SANRU (Santé Rural) and the DRC Government health structure to implement an effective inventory management system that will supply health care structures with necessary supplies delivered via an efficient distribution system.

To strengthen the sustainability of this program, UMCOR will conduct awareness-raising activities at the community level, organizing quarterly awareness-raising meetings in public places (i.e., schools, markets, and churches). UMCOR will also organize meetings with the Community Health Workers that will be doing door to door visits to households in the three Health Zones to inform beneficiaries of the risks, symptoms and detection of malaria.

Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bednets (LLINs) Distribution

Kamina and Lubumbashi: Since the beginning of the 2010, UMCOR DRC has coordinated the distribution of 15,000 LLINs in Kamina and 30,000 LLINs in the Bongonga neighborhood of Lubumbashi. The project in Lubumbashi is unique in that it supports the efforts of a new multi-faith coalition, CORESA (Coalition Religieuse pour la Santé) that works together to combat the incidence of malaria in their communities. Religious and traditional leaders were mobilized and a team of community volunteers distributed and hung up the nets, while conducting house-to-house education.

All LLIN distribution programming involve comprehensive training for volunteers, so that as they are involved in the correct installation of the life-saving nets, they are also able to impart information about malaria prevention, transmission, symptoms and treatment.

Upcoming LLIN Distributions

Kamina and Mulungwishi: In 2011, UMCOR DRC will conduct two LLIN distribution and education campaigns. The largest anti-malaria program ever to be conducted by UMCOR DRC will take place in Kamina, with the distribution of 77,000 nets and mobilization of 200 volunteers. In Mulungwishi, 9,000 nets will be distributed with the help of 50 volunteers.

Building off successes in other African communities, the primary goal of these programs is to decrease the incidence of clinical malaria cases and/or rates of mortality associated with malaria via an innovative approach to combating malaria in Kamina and Mulungwishi.

In both programs, each household in the targeted areas will receive three mosquito nets, in alignment with the principal of universal coverage, which aims to ensure that the most vulnerable members of a household will have the protection of sleeping under a net. Volunteers will also conduct baseline surveys, distribute nets, educate the public and do follow up surveys and visits to monitor correct usage of the nets over time. Combined, these efforts will help ensure more sustainable results from the program and will also allow us to measure successful program elements for potential future replication.

LIVELIHOODS

Community Agriculture Development

UMCOR DRC, with funding from USDA, has been implementing a food security program in Kamina since 2004. The program provided agriculture inputs in the form of seeds and tools, as well as training for program beneficiaries. One component of the program is the processing of agriculture produce into marketable products. To this end, UMCOR procured 5 VitaGoat machines, which is a type of food processing equipment well-suited to resource-poor settings. Soybeans can be processed into soymilk, tofu, yogurt, soy nut butter, and other products. Fruits and vegetables can be used in the VitaGoat system to produce sauces (e.g. tomato), purees (e.g. mango, papaya) and juices. Finally, cereals such as corn, sorghum, wheat, and rice can be made into flours and/or meals. These foods may be used in the home, stored for later use, and/or sold in local markets to increase a household’s income.

Though farmers have begun to produce various crops in increasing amounts, the introduction, availability of, and access to processing equipment allows for the creation of new foods for consumption and sale, and extends food shelf life.

PARTNERS IN OUR WORK

UMCOR DRC works with a variety of partners to make our work possible. In addition to the private funds we receive through The United Methodist Church we also receive support from the following:

Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
NetsforLife®
Nothing But Nets
United Nations Foundation
US Department of Agriculture
Vestergaard Fransen