details

Children of Uvira (EU), South Kivu

EU is a registered NGO with the provincial government.

Location

Uvira, South Kivu province
Uvira, Nundu, Bukavu, and Bujumbura (Burundi)

Sectors of Intervention

Education; at-risk youths; conservation

History

EU (Enfants d’Uvira) began in 2006, when a young Congolese man who had studied inBelgium returned home to Uvira and decided to address the inability of many families in South Kivuto pay for their children’s school fees. The founder contacted friends and acquaintances in Belgiumand secured funding for 56 children. What started as an ad hoc program of assistance blossomed intoa network that spanned several European countries and led to the formalization of the group. Today,EU manages a small library in Uvira, which also serves as its office. It has partnerships with ten schoolsin Uvira, Fizi, Bukavu, and Bujumbura (Burundi), where sponsored children attend school. To decreaseits dependence on individual donors from Europe, EU has planted cassava, which it sells for revenue.EU is a young and promising organization that serves important community needs, but it needs betterorganizational structures and practices to improve the quality and scope of its work. The organizationis largely driven by its founder, who has the vision and the contacts in Europe to maintain funding,but he has not yet divested power to others within the organization. EU works with many individualEuropean donors but has not worked with any international organizational funders.

Mission

Equip youths with the tools necessary to become independent and responsible members of society

Objectives

  • Improve the level and quality of education for children in Uvira
  • Promote the literary and artistic capacities of children in Uvira
  • Awaken the spirit of creativity, curiosity, and initiative among children in Uvira
  • Encourage and promote educational exchanges between children in Uvira and children around the world

Populations Served

Children living in extreme poverty, their families, and their communities

Programs

  • Library: EU manages a small library in central Uvira. It is the central base for EU’s activities and has 600 paying members ($3 a year for children, $1 a month for families). By monitoring the library books borrowed, EU has the opportunity to engage and build relationships with families in the community, and to observe and open dialogues about a wide range of attitudes and practices.
  • School fees: Through a European-based sponsorship program, EU pays the school fees of children whose families cannot afford to pay for their education. The main mission of EU is to build responsible and engaged members of society through investing in what they believe is the social fabric that will build the future: children.
  • Sanitation and composting: EU wants to build communities where children grow up in pleasant surroundings and engage with an environment that they are encouraged to protect. EU has a program, in an embryonic stage, for individuals in the Uvira area to compost household waste and plant greenery and flowers in public spaces.
  • Sports and healthy living: EU aims to educate young people about the importance of comprehensive health, both physical and mental. To this end, EU has started a weekly sports program involving walking, hiking, and playing sports such as football (soccer). Although this program is not financed, it embodies the ideology of EU and its desire to build healthy and educated individuals who realize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Microcredit: EU offers small-business development loans to families whose children are being supported with school fees.
  • Demonstration fields: EU has several fields in Makobola, just outside Uvira. EU staff and volunteers plant cassava, oranges, mandarins, and eucalyptus. Their long-term plan is to sell the fruit and the eucalyptus wood to obtain revenue. EU currently obtains approximately $1,500 a year from the sale of cassava. One field is also used as a demonstration field where local families can learn about different agricultural practices and products.

Governance

The supreme governing body is the general assembly, which meets every three monthsand is composed of parents of the children who are benefiting from scholarships. The general assemblyassigns work to a board of directors, but the founder, without a participatory process, selects theboard. The founder recognizes the need to change this process. EU has five employees, including alibrarian/IT expert, a teacher, and a trained accountant.

EU has one account with Interbank in Bujumbura (Burundi), and a cooperative account in Uvira.For financial, administrative, and personnel management, EU has:

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

Strengths

  • Dynamic, sincere, and committed employees
  • Strong partnerships with sponsors in Europe, the families of children who are receiving scholarships, and the schools attended by sponsored children
  • Organizational capacity to establish and maintain a library

Needs

  • Electronic accounting system in French
  • Better communication with donors in Europe
  • More books for the library
  • Capacity building for staff
  • Increased resources with which to pay competent employees, who will share responsibility for managing and guiding the strategic direction of organization
  • Qualified employees who can help facilitate decentralization of the organization

Funders and Budget

For 2010, EU’s budget was approximately $25,000. EU has 174 individual sponsors in Europe. It supplements the funding from its sponsors with sales of cassava and library membership fees.

Accomplishments

  • Has paid school fees for 400 children at ten schools
  • Has established a library, which has 600 paying members
  • Has planted approximately 33,000 trees and fruit bushes
  • Has started a progressive initiative to clean up residential areas, create green spaces, and start a composting program for household waste

Organizational Vision

Create a peaceful community with educated children

Project Proposals

  • Cleaning up and composting in Uvira: EU will organize youths in the Kimanga quarter of Uvira town to clean up the garbage that litters the area’s streets and rivers, plant flowers and shrubbery to beautify the area, and start a household composting program. Cost: $2,670
  • Youth center in Uvira: EU will purchase a plot in the Kimanga quarter of Uvira, where it will construct a youth center. The center will have facilities and equipment for basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, and other activities. It will have a library stocked with books, a screen and equipment to show movies, a small stage for theatrical performances, and a good supply of board games. The center will enable the youths in this area to engage in fun and educational activities, and give them a refuge from the streets. Cost: $185,000
  • Tree planting in Uvira: EU will organize youths to plant bamboo to counter erosion along riverbanks and roads, and to plant jatropha to counter erosion on Uvira’s hills. This project will enhance environmental protection and aesthetics in Uvira. Cost: $14,310

Contact

Vincent Elocho Kipanga, coordinator, +243.998.875.273, elochov@yahoo.fr, blog: http://enfantsduvira.blog4ever.com

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