COFAPRI at Ten Years: A Giant Step for Women and Children Empowerment in Rural DR Congo

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Posted December 19, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo
Valerie Bahati with children at Bushuke Primary School
Valerie Bahati, Executive Secretary of COFAPRI with children at Bushuke Primary School in Nyangezi after having distributed school equipment to the children.

Overview of COFAPRI Activities Since its Creation in 2009

COFAPRI https://www.cofapri.org  was created in 2009. Most of its activities started in 2012 in the villages of eastern DR Congo. Today, the organisation covers 64 villages where it has made amazing progress through its empowerment of women and children programmes.

Most of these children and women are survivors of war rape, but we also empower those from destitute families in the villages.

Moreover, we have been using educational DVDs in order to educate the local population about basic hygiene and changing negative behaviours into positive ones.

Finally, the women are also learning the basics in reading and writing, and these skills are very helpful, mostly for their sewing and small business. Local leaders and the local population strongly appreciate the activities of COFAPRI

Empowerment of village women

The activities help the women to:

  • Run small businesses, from five women in 2012 to 108 in 2019.
  • Learn sewing skills, five women with two sewing machines started the activity in 2012, and today, in 2019, 204 have been trained so far; over 90 % (185) of them are now generating an income from that lifesaving skill. Before starting with these five women, Bahati, the Executive Secretary of COFAPRI, went to learn the skill so that she could share it with the women; she trained them herself. After having mastered the skill, one of the women offered to volunteer training others. Since then, the sewing has been helping the women to support their families and the community.

In 2018, we already had 13 sewing machines in our Sewing Centre in Munya, but they were all stolen. Thanks to friends and the local leaders’ contribution, we purchased eight sewing machines and so the activities are moving on with satisfaction.

  • Rear animals. The activity started with three pigs in 2009. In 2011, all the 11 pigs we had were plundered by trouble-makers and we had to start from scratch. Today, we have 40 pigs in various villages. For fear of another theft, pigs are kept at our members’ homes.
  • Do agriculture. We initiated this activity with three women in 2012, but today 104 are involved.

Children’s empowerment

COFAPRI also helps village children who are survivors of war rape and those from destitute families to have access to school education, and in 2012, we started with three children in primary school. We pay school fees and equipment for those children every school year. This school year 2019-2020, we are sponsoring 300 children scattered in various schools in the villages of DR Congo.

Life changing DVDs

In 2015, COFAPRI started educating the people to change behaviours and improve their hygienic conditions using educational DVDs. The DVDs have been provided by a UK based charity called Thare Machi Education (TME). We have so far reached an audience of 40,138 people - village women, men, girls and boys in schools and local leaders.

Breaking the barriers of illiteracy

COFAPRI has also been empowering women via learning the basics in reading and writing. The activities started with 12 women in Katana/Kabamba in 2014, and today we have trained almost 250 women. These skills are helping the women a lot in the exercise of sewing and running small business.

Programmes recognition

In 2014, in collaboration with the Kelley Business School of Indiana University in the USA, we adapted a business handbook to be relevant for grassroots women.

Local and traditional leaders have recognised our efforts in empowering women and children. Accordingly, in 2016 COFAPRI was graduating 56 women who had been learning the sewing skills in Nyangezi as our first team. On the occasion the traditional local leader, Mr. Cishugi gave a trophy to COFAPRI via Bahati, the Executive Director of the organization, for having empowered the women and the children in the areas local international organisations could not reach. Again, in 2017, COFAPRI was once more honoured by local leaders during another graduation of the women who had been learning basics in reading and writing in Katana and Kabamba villages. As the ceremony was organised in Katana, Mr. Mugisho who represented COFAPRI was given a trophy by local leaders. The women also decorated him in a golden medal to thank COFAPRI for being a local leading organisation that is involving the women in such a variety of empowerment activities, and that the organisation never left children behind.

 

Comments 20

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Seka
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Bonjour Mugisho,
Waouh quel grand et admirable travail vous faites pour l'autonomisation de la femme et de l'enfant! Vous êtes un véritable modèle à suivre et notre monde pourra changer positivement.
Courage et allez de l'avant!

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Merci beaucoup, Seka. Nous essayons de notre mieux malgre les defis dans les villages et l'insecurite incessante dans notre beau pays, la RDC. Je suis ravi que tu apprecies nos efforts.

Jill Langhus
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Seka! You're back!

How are you doing, love?

How was your son's wedding, dear? Let's see some photos:-)

Seka
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Hello Jill, am coming back. I missed you so much. It is a great pleasure to communicate with you especcially and the big family World Pulse.
I wish you merry Christmas and happy new year 2020.

Jill Langhus
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Hello dear:-) Yay!

I missed you, too, dear:-) Great to have you back! I hope you and your family are safe and well?!

Happy Holidays to you, too, dear!!

XX

Seka
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

About my son's wedding, all thinks were okay; tomorow I will send you some photos. One is on my facebook profile.

Jill Langhus
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Okay:-) Thanks for letting me know about your FB profile... very sweet:-)

Wusufor
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Hi :-),
Congrats on your tenth anniversary. What a great Achievements you have choked.
Keep up the hard work. Have a good day.
Thanks

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Lisbeth, thank you! We are on the move and hope God will help us in it to reach all those in need. Be blessed!

Wusufor
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

You are welcome :-)
Greetings

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Thanks, Lisbeth!

Jill Langhus
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Hi Mugisho,

Thanks for sharing all your impressive achievements. You're making such a difference there. Do you work in conjunction with the Mama Shujaa center, too? Do you now have a security system to protect the sewing machines? Please keep up your great work!

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Hello Jill! Thank you for this encouraging comment. I appreciate you like our efforts of women and children empowerment. We do not work in conjunction with Mama Shujaa, but I know them here only. The security system we have is not really tough because the rooms in which we sew are not really solid and even the houses themselves are not strong enough to assure security. If we had built our own rooms, we would see ways to secure all our equipment. We hope we will there one day.

Jill Langhus
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Hi Mugisho,

You're welcome!

Oh, okay. Perhaps you could collaborate so the women that have limited or no access to the internet could go there?

Oh, on security system:-( I hope they remain with you, then. Yes, I hope so, too!

Let me know if you would like me to introduce you to Neema who founded and runs the Mama Shujaa center? She's amazing!

Anita Shrestha
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Thank you

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Thank you too, Anita, and I appreciate!

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 20, 2019
Dec 20, 2019

Hello, Mugisho,

Congratulations to you and COFAPRI on these impressive achievements and development!

Wow, 64 villages! What an impact! Thank you for inspiring us with your journey!

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019

Thank you Karen, we are doing what we can despite myriads of challenges on the field. I appreciate your comment.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 24, 2019
Dec 24, 2019

You’re welcome, bro Mugisho. Well done! Happy holidays!

Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
Dec 24, 2019
Dec 24, 2019

Wishing you back the same, sister!