Vital Kulimushi - Congo Action 3

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Vital Kulimushi

Supporting us > Our partners
PEDI
Protection of the Environment

PEDI Protection de l'environnement et Developpement integres - Protection of the environment and of its related developments, registered  in Bukavu in 2009, PEDI is a charity dealing with environmental issues  relating to economically impoverished communities. Vital Kulimushi is the PEDI coordinator.

Vital has  been a loyal supporter and worker for Congo Action for many years.  Without his vital help many of the projects would have been less  successful. Here is his story.


Vital, born in 1963 in Bukavu, has spent his entire life studying and working in South Kivu. He has an impressive academic background.  After finishing his secondary studies in Bukavu, Vital worked for two years as a Youth worker, followed by a one year computer studies during which time he also studied English. Discovering an interest in conservation Vital obtained a first degree at the Institut Superieur of Rural development, in Bukavu on the theme of the Conservation and bio-diversity of the Kahuzi-Biega National park.

This was followed by a second degree, focusing again on the National Park of Kahuzi-Biega, but this time on developing a forestry and agro-forestry zone around the park.

Vital works with a huge awareness of the necessity of conserving and respecting the environment and he works to share this passion with the communities with which he works.

Besides his strong professional skills on conservation issues, Vital is also a teacher. In total he spent 12 years teaching first in a primary school (1986-1994), followed by one year working with orphan children in the harsh and perilous war zone of Goma (1995-1996).

Vital's strongest interests and expertise lies in his  work with rural communities, teaching his people about dealing with  conflicts, living with the effects of many years of civil war and  protecting and respecting the environment.  He also organises working  groups aiming to teach them to manage and share their resources.
(On  the occasion of our site visits  in 2010 & 2012 we met with the  communities of Bagira, Cidjo and Bunkivane, and were impressed by their  high level of organisation. They formed themselves into committees,  where members had to pay a small fee to join. They had built their own  village “hall”, and met on a weekly basis, and paid in a small  percentage of any income earnt as labourers. The money they raised was  used as a health fund to cover hospital treatment or medication. Members  could also “borrow” money for funeral expenses or any other  emergencies. The amount of money allocated was decided by the group.)

Seeing  this level of organisation convinced Congo Action  that we could engage  Vital in working with the two communities he knew best : The villages  of Cidjo and Bunkivane. Here is therefore a summary of the projects that  Vital ran successfully on our behalf, with significant and encouraging  returns:

The sponsorship programme
Congo  Action started this programme in 2003, whereby children school fees  were paid for by individual sponsors from the UK. For some time, Vital  was responsible for administering the payments and reporting back to us.  However, as we became more and more aware of  the unfairness of this programme (in terms of selectivity), we changed  it for a collective sponsorship of our school and its teachers. Vital  was instrumental in introducing this change, and thanks to his tact and  professional diplomacy, the parents took it well and accepted the  change.  Thanks to many of our original sponsors who have stayed with  us, this programme is currently still running.

The goat project
In  the villages of Cidjo and Bunkivane, Vital initiated a goat breeding  project, working in partnership with a veterinary surgeon, who, aware of  the damage that goats can do to the environment, trained the villagers  to build stables in which to house their goats. This proved to be very  successful with the offspring being passed on to group members on a  rotating basis. Having a goat or two raises the family income and the  profit is often used to pay for school fees.

The sewing projects
Here  again, working within the community and the PEDI organisation, Vital  helped to set up three different sewing projects, within the villages of  Bagira, Cidjo and Bunkivane. Each project ran for one year. On  completion each participant had acquired a skill for life giving them  the opportunity of earning an income of their own.

Water projects
Given  Vital's passion for the environment and the proper use of natural  resources, Congo Action joined with Vital to launch water projects that  would facilitate life for the villagers, women and children in  particular. PEDI identified natural springs and built proper systems of  running water. Also at Vital's suggestion, we went on to finance repairs  to springs that had become obsolete. (see further details on our  website). Key elements of these projects were the training of villagers  and organising them into committees to oversee the good care or repairs  of the springs.

Kavumba school
This  primary school, educating some 280 children, was built in 2007, and  financed by Congo Action. It is now officially registered by the State,  and at the request of the villagers, it has been placed under the  umbrella of the Catholic coordination of Schools of Bukavu, South Kivu.  (Abbe Mukata Bayonga Patrice).  Vital provides the liaison between  Kavumba school and Congo Action, by visiting the school regularly,  giving advice to the teachers, and ensuring that the school educational  standards are maintained.

Summary
Congo  Action is proud of our project achievements in the DRC, and grateful to  Vital Kulimushi for  sharing with us his culture, his knowledge and  understanding of communities, his diligence at carrying out the work  set, his advice to us, and his profound respect for the environment.  Congo Action ambition is to continue supporting PEDI 's ethos  &  values, and to further our working partnership with Vital, with the  teachers at Kavumba, the Catholic co-ordinator and all the villages  committees solidly established, and looking for encouragement.
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