A delegation from the Swedish Embassy in the DRC realizes the progress made by the ‘Sober Youth-Healthier Communities’ project

 The Head of Cooperation of the Embassy of Sweden, Mr. Joachim Beijmo and Mr. Berthollet Kaboru, First Secretary of the Embassy conducted a field visit on Wednesday May 19, 2021 with the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) National Office to assess the progress made by the project implemented in the City of Kinshasa and focused on the fight against urban violence, a three-year project funded by the Swedish Cooperation.
        

The project entitled ‘Sober Youth – Healthier Communities: Transforming the Violent Youth in Kinshasa’, supervised by WFAD and implemented by national NGOs, Inter-actions DRC, Dynamique Actions pour la Solidarité et le Développement (DASOD), and Synergies Pour les Femmes (SYFES), aims to help young people commonly known as ‘Kulunas’ to leave and prevent other young people from joining the violent street gangs in Kinshasa.

Launched on December 17, 2020 in the municipality of Kinshasa by the former Minister of Social Affairs, Mrs. Rose BOYATA and the Head of Cooperation, Mr. Joachim Beijmo, the project started with success and took off as evidenced by the results obtained to date after six months of implementation by the consortium of NGOs led by WFAD.

The main objective of the project is to transform 1500 young violent girls / boys in the City of Kinshasa and to create a healthier and sober community while the specific objectives pursued by the project are the identification of violent young people in the target municipalities, the sensitization, and organization of psycho-social sessions for psychological transformation and finally socio-economic integration through income-generating activities.

The field visit conducted on May 19, 2021 gave the Swedish delegation the opportunity to evaluate the progress made since this launch in December of last year. This visit took place in two stages, first a working session with the WFAD national office where the Program team presented the results achieved to date by the consortium in the implementation of the project, and secondly, the field visit to meet the direct beneficiaries of the project i.e. the formerly violent young people but presently in full psychosocial support and then to visit infrastructures built within the framework of the project.           

To date 200 young men known as “kulunas” are already benefiting from psychotherapeutic support by Inter-actions RDC.

Inter-actions DRC, one of the implementing partner NGOs was the first to be visited by the Swedish Embassy delegation together with the WFAD National Office. After the brief working session about Inter-actions RDC introduction and the psychosocial support approach, the delegation visited some training clubs of young beneficiaries. Some have confirmed their reintegration into their families while others are proud to be more useful to the community and as wage earners thanks to the project. They also shared their experiences with drug use and detailed some of the types of substances they used to take. All have confirmed that they left these violent street gangs since joining the project and stopped taking drugs and other toxic substances following the support provided to them by the Inter-actions team within the framework of the project. It is important to recall that in the same psychosocial support chapter, 250 young girls are also benefiting from psychotherapeutic support with the implementing partner NGO SYFES and a future visit is planned for this purpose.

The delegation then visited the waste collection transit center set up as part of the project in the municipality of Kinshasa. The waste collection program is the empowerment component ensured by Inter-actions, which allows these supervised young people to benefit from an occupation and remuneration in order to be empowered for a return to normal life. To date, 10,273 households, 40 hospitals, 25 schools, 54 hotels, 86 churches have already signed up to benefit from this waste collection component in the municipalities of Kinshasa and Ngaliema; over 80,000 plastic bags, 16,000 bags, 400 bins were distributed to ensure waste disposal.        

The borehole and water mini-factory built by DASOD are ready to supply clean water to 40,000 residents of the Bagata and Mabulu 1 neighborhoods in the Makala municipality

The field visit ended at the borehole with water mini-factory built by DASOD in the municipality of Makala. The implementing partner DASOD finalized the construction of the borehole, the water mini-network and the mini-factory to supply clean water to more than 40,000 inhabitants of the municipality of Makala in the Bagata, Mabulu 1 neighborhoods and other surrounding neighborhoods.

In Makala, the population was very enthusiastic with regard to the response provided to the situation of the drinking water supply in the Bagata and Mabulu 1 neighborhoods. Testimonies from inhabitants confirmed the absence of drinking water supply for more than 10 years in the surrounding and the construction of the borehole is a bonanza for the whole community and the two neighborhoods leaders present during the visit, also confirmed this to the delegation. The mini water supply network and standpipes put into service will be providing drinking water to more or less 40,000 inhabitants, or nearly 6,000 households, including two health centers, one of which is a health center of reference in the municipality of Makala. Dr KOMBO KIESE, Chief of Staff, and Mr MUKENDI TSHITUPA, Administrator of the KIMBANZI MAKALA Reference Health Center expressed their satisfaction to see their center benefit from a permanent drinking water supply for the first time since its construction by the World Bank seven years ago.

 

With completion of this borehole as well as the mini-factory for production of drinking water, the marketing component can therefore start with the young people who have received psychosocial support from the NGO partners SYFES and INTER-ACTIONS DRC. DASOD is ready to receive at this stage 100 young people to launch the operationalization of the marketing and sale of drinking water, the income of which will ensure the maintenance of facilities and infrastructure and the empowerment aspect of young beneficiaries.

Written by Dandy Yela (WFAD DRC)

 

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