Too many things to share!

Too many things to share!

Wow, what a first week at Save the Children DRC in Kinshasa! So much to learn, so much to discover and so many people to meet! Even David Mobbs, PULSE volunteer in London on Save the Children/GSK partnership, came in on Thursday. Good timing!

I knew at a high level what Save the Children (STC) is doing in the developing countries. But being in it makes me realize how great it is.

To start, the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is difficult. In 2012 the DRC was rated the poorest country in the world and had the lowest human development indicators. In the same year, two in ten children in the country did not reach their fifth birthday and over 41 women died each day giving birth. The country is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 & 5 that is, reducing child and maternal mortality respectively, by 2015. DRC is only making a 0.7% annual rate of reduction of child mortality; which suggests that it will take more than 90 years to achieve the MDG target at this current level of investment!

Some stories I am hearing are horrible. Children that are kicked out of their family because they are accused of being witches, sexual abuse of young girls and boys, child soldiers, malnutrition… In a future blog, I will try to explain some of these.

There is a lot to do in this country and STC is fully aware and aligned with the situation. They have projects in three sectors, which are Education, Protection and Health. Depending on the region’s needs, they focus more on one sector or the other, or the three at the same time. Talking with STC’s staff, I rapidly realized how knowledgeable they are and I could measure their willingness in improving the DRC conditions.

My project will be in the Health sector, on the partnership GSK/STC (Orange United). The first project of this partnership has been launched recently and will be on-going for 5 years. It will focus on the MDGs 4 & 5, to help the country accelerate on reaching the targets. It is a model project that will cover 4 health zones in the country (1 in Kinshasa and 3 in Mbuji-Mayi in Kasai Oriental). One of the objectives is to be able to replicate it so it can be expand in the whole country. This is great that I am part of the partnership!

Again, I will tell you more about what I am doing in a future blog…

David and I spent lot of time together to exchange on our learning so far. He’s been on his assignment for 3 months. He was in Kinshasa over the weekend, so we could visit the area. We had a beautiful day at “Lola ya bonobos”, which is a sanctuary for bonobos (monkeys). It is close to Kinshasa (35 km), but it took us 1 ½ hour to get there with an experienced driver! Traffic jams … very bumpy roads… people everywhere… fumes from the other cars… what a journey. Kinshasa is not a safe city, so we cannot walk in the street at all. Even going at the grocery store at the corner of the street, we have to call a driver. So, going out for the monkeys, walking in the tropical forest and being in a quiet environment worth the trip.

I will have to do a blog on Kinshasa too…. So much to say!