Collaboration: A Three Month Evaluation

Post a Comment » Written on February 4th, 2013     
Filed under: Missionary Update

Volunteers present their reports.

Written by Christine Buettgen, short-term missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo

We arrived in a large white land cruiser with the orange and black mark of World Vision on each side announcing our arrival. We took our seats in plastic chairs near the back of the palm front covered meeting area. Everyone else attending the meetings trickled in on foot, wiping the day’s humidity from their brow with cloth designated for just that purpose, greeting each other with “mbote’s” or “hello’s” smiles and laughter. Those gathering for the meeting were the teams of volunteers from the three churches that work in partnership with World Vision in Gemena, Congo. The Evangelical Covenant Church, the Evangelical Free Church, and the Catholic Church of Congo have formed teams of volunteers responsible for the registration of over 10,000 children who will be sponsored by donors across the US and Canada. These young people are driven, capable, and the future leaders of their community.

Today, they gathered for a three month evaluation of their work so far. They shared statistics they had gathered on numbers of registered children in each neighborhood, how many children had already found sponsors, and the challenges they faced in their work.

Stanley, one of the program managers, asked what some of the lessons learned had been in the past three months. One of my favorite responses was from a Catholic Church volunteer: “We are learning the way of collaboration. Among our team there is no king, but everyone has an equal voice”.  Collaboration is not always modus operandi in this region.  Collaboration could be revolutionary.

Volunteers listening intently at the evaluation meetinan equal voice.” Collaboration is not always modus operandi in this region. Collaboration could be revolutionary.

When the group from the Covenant Church of Congo (locally known as “CEUM”) came up front to report, their group spokesperson started by sharing this:Most of the CEUM volunteers work in a neighborhood called Bokonzo. The spokesperson shared with us that the meaning of the word “Bokonzo” is actually “Capital”. The capital is where the people are organized to assist the population in every sector. So the CEUM volunteers of Bokonzo view their neighborhood as a “site d’assitance”. They are proud to be the leaders of the community who are organizing to assist the rest of their city.

The real groundwork has begun. Forming leaders who will change the future of Gemena is an essential part of this program’s success. We can’t wait to see what these young leaders are capable of accomplishing.

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