Dem. Rep. of Congo, Africa

DRC08a - ACLUP Chikera Community Water Provision: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: November 30, 2022

Report from BHW DR Congo Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

I got a flight to Kamembe, Rwanda on the DR Congo border on Tuesday 2nd of August. This town is just 20 minutes from Bukavu on the Congo side of the border. Paulin arrived and we spent the rest of his time together at the hotel as he had to be at the border by 3pm before it closed. 

I am convinced that Paulin is a really good guy and that he is worth investing in. He is still getting to know us, but gets things quickly, and certainly seems to be able to deliver.  

Recent Events

The Situation in DR Congo

There is a general lack of credibility and transparency in the DRC people compared to Rwandans. This is true inside the church as well. This is something Paulin has to constantly stress with his people. On one occasion, one of his people was sent to get cement for a project. Instead of purchasing 120 bags, he only got 100 and kept the remaining money. Paulin sacked him and took him to court. The people in the judicial system were shocked that he would do that!

People feel abandoned by the government. It is so important to remain uncorrupted. ACLUP applied on one occasion to TEAR fund for a large water project – approximately US$100,000. The project was accepted and approved in principle by the international body but as he dealt with the local leader the demand was made that for the final application to be put through there would have to be a kick back of around 20%. He refused and so the application was never sent in. This is typical. In many places the politicians expect to get something significant when a project is done so they appear to be the one who has brought it. In several places Paulin is viewed as an enemy because he has refused to play their games.  

Water (DRC08a and b)

lots of potential When water comes to a community it is a very big thing and people are excited. Their reaction is to give thanks to God for the water because he has provided it and the people who have brought it. They have learned that water is such a great blessing to communities that this has become a major focus. In their minds it is far more beneficial than loan programmes as they are public programmes, and many more people gain benefit.

I explained to him again that we can only do one water project per year. I had told him that previously by email after an Executive decision. However, he brought with him several water projects he wanted to do. These are ones he has researched and assessed. One of them had 80 water sources to be developed.  

His plea was that we would reconsider and do one water project every 9 months at least rather than one per year. He is totally committed to these projects, and I think there is great value in them and a real need.  

Micro-Loans (DRC08)

good recordsWhile loans help people, it is not on a large scale or as impactful as public programmes. Only a few people are helped and there are two other issues with loans:
1) They can fail when external issues come along like a drought, internal conflict, pandemics etc., all of which are regular occurrences in the DRC.
2) The corruption and jealousy loans create. Paulin gave several examples:
- Women in one area received loans and set up stalls in a local market. The army, police and politicians all came expecting their cut. Some women lost everything and could not repay the loans.
- One woman got a loan for her business. Her husband found out, beat her to a pulp, took the money and spent it on drink and prostitutes. Many husbands are violent and addicted to alcohol.
- Another woman had her loan money stolen by her son who was part of a militia group. He bought an AK47 and ran off to permanently join the gang. 

There are many success stories as well, in fact most do OK. One woman who grew her two sacks of fish for trading said that ACLUP and BHW are made up of angels. 

There are roughly two types of women who have loans. One is the majority who just buy and sell within their local area. They are largely the most vulnerable, tend to be quite passive, and most of the problems of no repayment come from this group. The other are more aggressive women, many of whom are cross border traders. He has decided that these are the women who should be assisted as they are much more successful at business and repaying. They are serious about business and more experienced. They also have a much greater impact as well because they provide the community with what they need, and their children and families become self-sustaining. 

The last amount of funds sent from BHW was used for a group of these women and it is making a great difference to them and their families. There are 250 women in this group and 22 initially received loans. All of them repaid within the 5-month loan period and the money has been lent out again to other women. 



“Being a founding member of ACLUP; I wanted my expressed vision to be realized. My first vision is to serve the poorest, to bring my support to the most deprived of my community. The second part of my vision is the fight against injustice, impunity and corruption.” 

needs new homePaulin still does some lecturing at University from time to time, but ACLUP is now taking up most of his time which does cause some issues of income. In March, during a rainstorm, his house which he owned, totally collapsed as the neighbour had dug out soil below him. It was a permanent house made of concrete blocks. This has put him in a difficult situation as he and his family are staying with his brother who doesn’t really have room. 

He has a personal project he would like us to consider. He has 10ha of land in the Chikera area where we did the first water project. His mother lives there. He wants to start a chicken project for his own support and also for a group of orphans he and his mother are trying take care of. These children are victims of the militia troubles, some of them are children of rape and no one will take them in. He is going to send us something about this at some time in the future. 


Ideas for the Future


Paulin is convinced that farming has to be a major part of the future. Most people have access to land and farming is in their DNA. It is just that the old methods need to be removed and new ones taught. We spent a lot of time thinking through how to do Foundations for Farming. It would be best to do it in DRC and in Swahili. 

Getting people there for training is essential. The growing seasons are September and February. The main crops are beans, maize, cassava, sweet potato, yams, Amaranthus, brassicas and onions. They have good people who could act as trainers. 

I do think there is a great opportunity here for Foundations for Farming training along with training in Goma for the Alliance Evangelique. I would like to develop this with John and get something in motion. 

Human rights 

Paulin was very angry about the situation his people constantly faced from community power brokers. Human rights are non-existent. He made a compelling statement, “the rights of our people are being raped.” He wants to hire a lawyer for a period to challenge the people in authority and prosecute some cases of corruption and human rights violations. He has had experience with this. 

One woman in the loan programme had a vegetable stall in a market. Some police came and took her veggies. He heard about it and went to the police station and told the chief who refused to believe him. So, he hired a lawyer with US$200 of his own money and took the case to court and won. A policeman was convicted and had to pay the woman US$50 a month for 6 months. This shocked the whole community but has showed that people don’t have to put up with the abuse of power. 

He has made a proposal for a project based on this. Many women are broken psychologically and traumatised by this type of thing. Most of them are raped, many frequently. He wants to also hire a counsellor to come alongside women to help them recover. One Christian woman in the loan programme was raped, beaten, and eventually murdered by her “husband.”

He estimates that there would be at least 50 cases a month without even advertising. Lawyers are respected and not as vulnerable as we might imagine. He would start in the markets where the women have their businesses. 



Paulin is a big thinker and strong advocate for his people. I really like him and think there is great benefit in developing further partnerships with him. He is passionate about the plight of his people and has a really soft heart. 

I am planning to go to DR Congo in January 2024, and I would really like to increase our involvement with him.