We’re at the end of a year during which it has become increasingly clear to us that people in Kivu really want to move forward. They have suffered from violence and poverty for so long and now they sense a chance for peace and maybe for some improvement in daily life.
Not everyone feels this way. Too many have no chance and no hope. They cannot afford to think beyond today. But there are signs that some people are able to see a better tomorrow.
The most obvious sign is the large amount of house building going on, especially in Bukavu but also in Goma. It’s an investment in the future and a statement of confidence. Then there are the ideas that people are bringing to us for funding, which are more ambitious and far reaching. Just as significant is the ambition of our existing business partners. For example, CPNCK the coffee co-operative on Idjwi is targeting the export of six containers next year with a concurrent improvement in quality driven by the installation of weight micro washing stations. Innocent at Liaison Congo has just launched internet café-2 and is already planning café-3.
Also there is the positive attitude of the groups that have accepted a loan from us to start their own community business. The people in these groups are poor and live far from the urban dynamics of Bukavu and Goma, but they see that starting a community business is a chance to move forward and they want to make it work.
At no time is this positive attitude more evident than in the training sessions we run at the start of a program. Amani Matabaro and Bahati Cesiare combine to make a great training team. They communicate using the local language and everyday examples of good practice, and they engage the groups in discussion around solutions. It’s great to see the training unfold over the course of a day and sense the drive and momentum that is generated when people have the chance to work for a better tomorrow.