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Advanced planning visit to prepare the short term EVS in Congo

Brief Presentation of the project

The aim of this blog is to record, and particularly to share the experience lived along the project « Europe-Africa : people working together for sustainable growth ». This project will take place in Kinshasa, from 15/08/2014 to 15/10/2014. It puts together two groups of 3 blind and sighted youngsters coming from Belgium and French Guiana.

Objectives:

  • Systematizing good practices as regards hygiene and cleaning up in 5 schools of Mikonga area (at East of Kinshasa). This awareness will be based on CHAST method (Children Hygiene And Sanitation Transformation), and the similar elaboration of micro-projects.
  • Promoting intercultural learning between Belgian, Guyanese and Congolese people.
  • Favouring the emergence of skills and knowledge through non-formal education.

Who and by who’m ?

This project was born from a collaboration between several associations : Santé Nord-Sud, VIEWS International and association 2ième chance. The project is achieved with the support of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Union.

Inventory of fixtures :

Up to now, two trainings were organized by Skype. This trainings put across the CHAST method, management of project, leadership and technics of speech for the defence. It is worth noting that there is still one Belgian volunteer missing.

An APV in Kinshasa is forseen from 24th to 28th of July 2014. This visit will put together the local actors, the managers of Santé Nord-Sud, 2 belgian representatives and 2 Guyanese ones.

Beginning of the APV

On this Friday, began the APV of the EVS project in Kongo/Kinshasa Mikonga Region.
The first task consisted in selecting the place of accomodation. This search was not so evident, as we had to take into account budget, location, access to water and electricity ! This evening, the Guyanese group is joining us and tomorrow, we will meet the representatives of the 5 schools of Mikonga area.

End of the APV

The APV is now finished. The following activities were carried out during that time :

  • Searching for appartments adapted to the project constraints.
  • Meeting and presentations of the different representatives and associations.
  • Visiting the 5 schools of Mikonga and meeting their directors.
  • A visual impairment awareness session meant to the mentors.
  • A meeting about practical organization of the stay.

Presentation of the representatives and associations :

This representatives were the managers of the association « Santé Nord-Sud » set up in Congo and in Liège, the 6 mentors coming from Mikonga area, a responsible and a volunteer from the Guyanese association « 2ième chance », and finally, a responsible and a volunteer of the association « VIEWS International ».

Visual impairment awareness session :

The session began by a diffusion of theoretical information about visual impairment, and afterwards by an animation about guidance technics and behaviours to adopt at the time of different daily situations.
After that, the mentors tried out, sometimes with a bit of apprehension, the difficulty of being blind and of guiding a blind person. Using the cane was obviously the done thing. This session got well received by the local partners who did not hesitate to ask questions and to react.

Looking for appartments :

This search pointed out that sense of negociation is a vital asset in DRC. However, our budget, health and geographical constraints mean that it is difficult to find suitable accomodation.
That constitutes one more point to settle (the « Quetchua tent » option not being conceivable).

Visit of schools – collection of school stationery and bars of soap :

Visiting the schools quickly put forward the lack of material means. This general shortage is particularly hard for some of these schools. So, the groups of Belgian and Guyanese volunteers as well as their associations agreed with each other to try to take with them a maximum of material in their supernumerary luggage. The idea is to collect the greatest number of bars of soap and school stationery (notebooks, pens, pencils…) in order to supply a first concrete material assistance to these schools.
This collection turns out to be very difficult, by lack of time before the departure (15th August 2014), but we hope that our luggage will be heavy enough to stand everything under its weight !