Supporting selected projects of members of the communion is a core task of the UEM and one of the specific contributions of the UEM to missionary witness. To further professionalize this work, a workshop for project officers from the UEM member churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo was held from August 2-6, 2022. It was hosted by the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) in Kinshasa. The workshop was coordinated by Leah Enock, from the regional office of the UEM. Fourteen church employees working in project management took part in the workshop. Participants came from the Baptist Church in Central Africa (CBCA), the Community of the Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC), Association of Evangelical Churches at the Lulonga River (CADELU) and the host. Also present was Laurent Kabuyaya, a new South-South staff member who has been working for the CDCC as a financial consultant since July 1.
In addition to the UEM's project coordinator, Uli Baege, the UEM had commissioned two project management experts to lead the workshop: Elie Leuwe from the Evangelical Church in Cameroon (EEC) and Safari Kanyena from the CBCA. They helped to refresh the participants on the basic principles of the planning, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (PMEAL) approach promoted by the UEM.
A highlight of the programme was two project visits where the participants were asked to put into practice what they had learned in theory. The project officers visited Mapamboli Primary and Secondary School (means blessing in the Lingala language), which was opened by CADELU in 2019. Based on the project application submitted to the UEM at that time and the current situation, strengths and weaknesses of the project were analyzed and collegial feedback was provided to improve the current state. As the Mapamboli School is located in a low-income region of Kinshasa and runs as a private school, there is a lack of income for teaching. The experts then visited the CBCA's Limete community. There, a training programme has been launched to support people from the community get jobs and earn an income. Courses can be taken in IT, hotel management, tailoring, musical instrument making and cobbling. The community itself has started and finances the training programme "COPAM" (Centre d'orientation professionnelle et d'apprentissage de métier, Centre for vocational guidance and training). This example also shows that spirituality and development go hand in hand, are like twins. "Our approach is to make our community members self-sufficient. We don't just share the spirituality with them, but empower them as individuals so they can actively shape their own lives. And ultimately, as a church, we need to be there for our members," said Christine Musongya, director of the CBCA's Department of Diakonia and Development.
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