Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Training, IRC and three great blogs.

Let’s see. We woke up early today. Although we already worked on this for several days, we still had some i’s to dot and some t’s to cross. That is, over the last few days Simon and I – while having contact with Macartan in New York City – wrote the new questions for the final survey.

Today we trained Ussaire and Vincent; the two M&E (monitor and evaluation) officers of the IRC in Sud Kivu. We’ll do the same with the M&E officers in Tanyanika, Maniema and Haut Katanga. We’re flying to the latter next Tuesday. We started off with lunch to break the ice. With some fried bananas and fish from Lake Albert this went perfect. Then the following hours we discussed the survey questions, let them fill out the questions, explain how to randomly select households (one uses chalk and a deck of cards. Yep, really), do interviews, etc.

Tomorrow we will wake up early again. We do a final test round of interviews at 730am and then we head into the field. We arranged an IRC car and driver, packed our bags, and picked a TUUNGANE and control village. We should be back on Friday. Btw, regarding cars (we are still boys in the end):

In total I think the IRC has about a hundred of 4x4s in the DR Congo - most of them based here in Bukavu:

They recently got a few new ones (check the guard tower in the back and the UNHCR tent to the right):

Finally some completely random notes:

- The IRC, because it is a US-based organization, has to comply with US terrorism laws. One of these laws requires that all US-based NGOs do not have contact with terrorists. Sounds ok. However, the US also wants to doublecheck this. Funnily, this means that the US wants to know of each and every TUUNGANE village who the members of the development committees are. Most of the latter see a white person about once every year. I am sure that they are in a US database somewhere. :)

- People in the east of the Congo do not like Rwandans (understatement). For the people that know the history of the Kivus (let me not start on this one, because it is a very long story) this is understandable. Moreover, many Rwandans think the US supports the Rwandans (How else can such a small country be so powerful? They argue). Many Congolese think that Rwanda wants to take over the east of the Congo (minerals, overpopulation of Rwanda, etc.). Rather unfortunately: The IRC is a US-based organization. To make things worse, the IRC-Congo office used to be under the umbrella of IRC-Rwanda office. Consequently, many Congolese therefore thought that IRC stands for Intervention of Rwanda into Congo. But to make things even better: IRC Sud Kivu has since recently a new boss... he is from the US and his wife is Rwandan.

- For the map-nerds among us. We track all our trips with GPS-devices. So we have these really cool maps saying exactly where we have been. Yesterday we found out how to put these in Google Earth. Super cool!

- Finally, three absolutely great blogs that actually each deserve a post on their own:




1 comment:

  1. MJPC blames the Congolese Government for Deteriorating Situation in East Congo

    "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months"

    Following the deteriorating situation in east Congo, the MJPC called for the Congolese Government to pay the salaries of thousands of soldiers who have not been paid for over six months in east Congo, take swift action to enforce the International Criminal Court's (ICC) warrant against Bosco Ntaganda and to hold accountable perpetrators of sexual violence against women for their acts.

    "Faillng to hold accountable individuals who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity continues to be the leading cause of widespread and systematic sexual violence acts against girls and women in the easten Congo" said Makuba Sekombo, Community Affairs Director of
    the Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC). Mr. Sekombo again criticized the government of Congo for not only the continuing failure to protect women and young girls from sexual violence, but also for "encouraging conditions that create opportunities for sexual violence to occur". "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months" said Sekombo.

    The MJPC has also renewed its call for the Congolese government to take urgent needed action to end human rights abuses in east Congo, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure reparation for the victims of sexual violence. The MJPC has been urging the Congolese government to compensate the victims of sexual violence in order to also help combat impunity in eastern part of Congo where sexual violence against women and children has been widely used as weapon of war for more than decade.MJPC online petition calling for for help to put pressure on Congolese Government to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at

    MJPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working to add a voice in the promotion of justice and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular in the East where thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women continue to be victims of massive human rights violations while the armed groups responsible for these crimes remain unpunished.

    For more information on MJPC and the activities, visit the web site E-mail: or call Makuba Sekombo at 1 408 806 3644