details

Association for the Promotion of Local Initiatives in the Forested Areas of Africa (APILAF), Orientale

APILAF is registered as an NGO with the provincial government.

Location

Kisangani, Orientale province
Kisangani and its surroundings, Isiro, Bunia

Sectors of Intervention

Small-business development; sexual violence prevention; promotion of women’s rights; conflict prevention

History

On January 22, 1991, six people working on development through various churches in Kisangani founded APILAF (Association pour le promotion des initiatives locale en afrique forestière). The founding members wanted to better organize their activities and have them be independent of various church dictates and structures. From the beginning, APILAF worked with individuals, associations, and NGOs in the rural areas around Kisangani; however, in 2007, it opened small offices in Isiro and Bunia. In 1993, APILAF secured its first funding from the German Evangelical Development Service (EED), which has funded APILAF every year since. Since the late 1990s, APILAF has secured funding from Oxfam Novib, UNDP, MONUSCO, CIFOR, and Development and Peace (Canada).

Mission

Help with the development of rural populations living in forested areas

Objectives

  • Identify people in rural areas who want to help themselves and work with them to achieve their goals
  • Help people with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve social and economic development

Populations Served

APILAF has traditionally worked with farmers and pastoralists. It also currently works with entrepreneurs and addresses its trainings on women’s issues to entire communities.

Programs

  • Agricultural service: This program provides farmers with improved seeds (from APILAF’s experimental farm), tools such as hoes and machetes, and trainings about the seeds and farming techniques.
  • Training service: This program coordinates the educational component for the agricultural service and provides agricultural trainings once every three months in the area around Kisangani. It also provides trainings on gender (promoting women’s rights, preventing sexual violence) and peaceful cohabitation.
  • Technical service: This program manufacturers food-processing machinery and sells it to individual families at a reduced rate. APILAF staff makes small mills for rice, maize, and cassava, as well as a machine to make palm oil. This program started in June 2010 and has so far sold 30 machines around Kisangani and three around Isiro. It sells the machines at a discount; prices range from $50 to $200, depending on the size and type of machine. The head of the technical service was trained in Kinshasa by a USAID-funded project through the SECID consortium.

Governance

APILAF’s supreme governing body is the general assembly, which has 21 members andmeets annually. The general assembly elects a board of directors consisting of six members, who servefor three-year terms. The general assembly provides overall guidance for the organization, but the boardof directors oversees implementation of general assembly directives. The general assembly elects theexecutive secretary, who serves for a four-year-term, running the day-to-day operations of APILAFand overseeing all projects.

APILAF has 17 staff, including the executive secretary. Only the executive secretary is permanent; theother 16 are temporary and dependent upon project funding, but everyone has three-year terms (currentproject funding cycle from EED). In addition to the executive secretary, there is an accountant,an administrative manager, project managers, and seven machinists. Five of APILAF’s 17 employeesare women.

APILAF has an account with BCDC in Kisangani. For financial, administrative, and personnel management,APILAF has:

  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: YES
  • A computerized accounting system: NO
  • A clearly defined accounting process: YES
  • Clear procedures for management of payroll, petty cash, procurement, and disbursements: YES
  • Staff with the technical expertise to undertake projects: YES

Strengths

  • Members are development experts with years of experience, so they provide excellent guidance for the organization
  • Well-known in Kisangani and its surroundings, and many rural people are eager to work with it
  • Owns its own office and workshop in Kisangani, reducing its overhead

Needs

  • The capacity to meet all the demands and requests for assistance from rural populations. For example, communities are asking APILAF for microcredit to build schools and hospitals, and undertake other tasks that it is unable to do.
  • Improvement of poor roads in rural areas that limit the ability of APILAF’s agents to reach some rural communities
  • Funding to expand

Funders and Budget

For 2011, APILAF’s budget is $217,997. Its only current funder is EED.

Accomplishments

  • Has helped about 300 people in rural areas with a variety of small-business projects
  • Since June 2010, has constructed 60 machines to process agricultural products such as maize, cassava, palm oil, and rice (38 from June to December; 22 between January 1 and March 18, 2011)
  • Conducted numerous community trainings on sexual violence and women’s rights
  • Has trained many people who have gone on to work in development

Organizational Vision

Expand programs geographically to the forested areas of Africa, as its name suggests; also expand the number of people with whom APILAF works

Project Proposals

  • Establish seed farms at Isiro and Bunia: APILAF’s main office is in Kisangani, where it has a seed farm, but it lacks similar facilities at its offices in Isiro and Bunia. APILAF will purchase land near each town and establish a farm to provide seeds that APILAF will distribute to farmers. Cost: $42,500
  • Construction of new buildings: APILAF seeks to move from its current cramped quarters in Kisangani. To that end, it seeks funds to acquire a parcel of land and construct two buildings—one for its machine workshop and the other for administration plus a latrine. Cost: $243,334
  • Institutional capacity building: APILAF seeks funds for trainings to improve the skills of its machine shop workers, enhance its accounting staff ’s abilities for financial management, and boost its field workers’ abilities for project management. Cost: $34,500

Contact

Engineer Kasongo Deo, executive secretary, +243.998.633.598, aplilaf@hotmail.com

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