Democratic Republic of Congo
Earth Rights Institute And Jatukik Providence Foundation Partnership Initiative
1st Ecovillage Living and Learning Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Jatukik Providence Ecovillage Living and Learning Center located in Kibeti, a village in Sector Sungu, a Territory of Masimanimba in the Bandundu Province. It has a population of about 20,000 people. It is situated on 30 hectares of land that borders a river and creek. The local core group for the center consists of some members from the Jatukik Providence Foundation who already have had some experience in the promotion of sustainable development and are living in the area.
Earth Rights Institute would like to thank the Tet Ansanm Fund of Tides Foundation for their financial support to fully fund the first Phase of this Democratic Republic of Congo Initiative to build an ecovillage. Our sincere thanks goes to Wendy Emrich for having made this happen.
With the 21st century, comes the fundamental challenge facing every society to create political, economic and social systems that promote peace, human welfare and the sustainability of the environment on which life depends. This project serves a specific region that has been classified as an area in need from the recovery from the devastation by war, ecological catastrophe, economic collapse and significant political instability.
Jatukik Providence Foundation, a Democratic Republic of Congo NGO, has been working since 1999 with sustainable development programs in the Bandundu Province. ERI has been in partnership with Fr. Jean Claude Atusamaso the founder of Jatukik Providence Foundation since 2004. His main focus has been on education, health and the environment. Much of their work so far has been rebuilding schools, building a clinic, supplying hospitals with equipment and working with small communities on sustainable development.
For decades people have been migrating to the cities as there is belief that there is no future for rural communities. Many of these communities are struggling to survive without adequate means of physical, social or economic support. This program originated from the wishing of communities to become more self-reliant in the management of their own development, individuality, socially, economically and culturally.
The vision of this initiative was to develop an eco-development and eco-restoration plan for the region of the State of Bandundu Province in the DRC. Under the leadership of Fr. Jean Claude Atusamaso, founder of Jatukik Providence Foundation, we assisted on the implemention and promotion of this ‘holistic’ sustainable community development program. This first Ecovillage Living and Learning center in the DRC has set a role model for change that helps address issues such as eradicatation of poverty, reduce disparities in living conditions and manage development and the environment in a balanced and sustained manner.
Our goal is to continue to support this intentional sustainable community that reverses the gradual disintegration of our supportive socio-cultural structures and the upsurge of destructive environmental practices that threaten to drown us and to uplift our living standard by creating a harmonious synthesis between tradition and modernism without endangering nature. Applications for developing an Eco village system were taken into consideration the traditional town planning, the basic traditional cultural values and then integrated into a new green innovated strategic localized development plan. It has demonstrated how a team of dedicated skilled persons can go beyond the jurisdictional constraints of public planning agencies using the latest planning and communications technologies, and leading a citizen-based discussion about more sustainable patterns of settlement. The center continues to serve the local population to promote environmental management, peace education and conflict resolution training, applications of sustainable technology techniques, and build exchanges and networking between other eco villages and organizations with parallel interests. Ultimately, this sustainable development initiative has shown that a successful model involves the locals engagement to achieve their goals through individual and collective change.
With the current situation of the DRC, where there are war breakouts on the borders, large populations of refugees are now settling into the Bandundu Province. There is a new plan for the eco-restoration and re-development of the area. Presently, with this new growth in population, the present practices are creating negative impacts on to the region. With our program, we know that this Eco Plan will address these immediate concerns and bring about the objectives to evolve into a new ‘Green Sustainable Development’ model that ensures a healthy economic, environmental and social community for all.
Below are some of the areas Kibeti Ecovillage has addressed this past decade:
SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM
PERMACULTURE AND REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
TELEVISION AND INTERNET CENTERS
MICRO-FINANCE AND INDUSTRIES GENDER EQUALITY
HIV/AIDS INFORMATION CENTER
The center promotes and assists holistic sustainable community development programs while serving as a point of attraction for the wider society. The Center is an affiliate of Earth Rights Institute, a US based member of the EcoEarth Alliance , a worldwide UN NGO Partnership Initiative.
This Eco Village Living and Training Center project has been a landmark for achievement that has demonstrated the ability of will and sense of purpose to the execution of an activity that has become a pilot program for the state but to the entire nation of DRC. This program has linked to a larger conservation program for the Congo Basin, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.
USA based Program Coordinator – Annie Goeke, co-Director Earth Rights Institute
DRC based Program Coordinator – Father Jean Claude Atusameso, President Jatukik Providence Foundation