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Earth Rights Institute And Jatukik Providence Foundation Partnership Initiative
1st Eco Village Living and Learning Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Jatukik Providence Eco Village Living and Learning Center in Kibeti
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 is to serve 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.
The vision for this initiative is to implement an eco-development and eco-restoration plan for the region of the State of Bandundu Province in the DRC. Earth Rights Institute and Jatukik Providence Foundation will assist and promote an ‘holistic’ sustainable community development program. By creating the first Eco Village Living and Learning center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it will set as a role model for change that helps eradicate poverty, reduce disparities in living conditions and manage development and the environment in a balanced and sustained manner.
The goal is to create an intentional sustainable community by reversing 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 would take into consideration the traditional town planning, the basic traditional cultural values and then integrate this with new green innovated ideas. This project would demonstrate 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 lead a citizen-based discussion about more sustainable patterns of settlement. The center would serve 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, sustainable development must not only involve what governments can do, but it is imperative for people to achieve themselves 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. This calls for 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 the Eco Plan for Bandundu Province will address:
Jatukik Providence Foundation, a Democratic Republic of Congo NGO, has been working since 1999 with sustainable development programs in the Bandundu Province. Their main focus has been on education, health and the environment. Much of their work so far has been rebuilding schools, 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.
With this new integrated development program, Jatukik Providence Foundation will initiate the first phase with an Eco Village Living and Training Center in Bandundu Province. This Eco Village Center will be 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 will be situated on 30 hectares of land that borders a river and creek. The local core group for the center will consist of some of the members from the Jatukik Providence Foundation who already have had some experience in the promotion of sustainable development and are living in the area.
The center will aim to promote and assist 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 plans to be a landmark achievement that will demonstrate the ability of will and sense of purpose to the execution of an activity that will not only become a pilot program for the state but to the entire nation of DRC. This program will be eventually 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
1st EcoVillage Living and Learning Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The purpose of this initiative is to implement an eco-development and eco-restoration plan for the region of the State of Bandundu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Earth Rights Institute and Jatukik Providence Foundation, through the generous financial support from the Tet Ansanm Fund of the Tides Foundation, were able to successfully fulfill the 1st phase of ERI’s goal in the assisting and promoting an ‘holistic’ sustainable community development program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Completion of this 1st phase was done by sending our DRC program coordinator, Fr. Jean-Claude Atusameso, to attend the Sustainable Resources 2004 Conference from September 29-October 3rd in Boulder, Colorado. This enabled him to make connections to important persons of skills and knowledge in the sustainable development area as well as giving him the chance to promote our initiative with organizations that later could collaborate with us. Fr. Jean Claude participated in numerous workshops and developed a good network with appropriate organizations and individuals such as the Living Routes, Servicios Estratégicos para Proyectos Sostenibles, The Inner Life Force Organization, Alternative Energy companies, Green Mountain Group, Berkeley University, and others in the field of ecovillage development. This past year, he has visited numerous ecovillages in the USA. He has presented our program at numerous conferences, meetings and educational institutes. A list of where he talked can be provided on request.
After attending the conference, Fr. Jean Claude and Anne Goeke (Co-Director ERI), organized for two local Congolese members of the Jatukik Providence Foundation from Bundundu Province, Jean-Paul Atusameso and Raymond Kumbelu Nzuetu, to attend a 20 day long training program at the Living and Learning Center for Eco Yoff/CRESP on the outskirts of Dakar, in Senegal. Together, with 23 other students from around the world, they covered 4 areas in the ecovillage training program under the direction of founder and Director for CRESP, Ms. Marian Zeitlan.
The areas covered were the following:
A final report was written about their attendance to this training program in French and an English translation will be available soon. Since their return to the DRC, Raymond, Jean-Paul, the local Project Director, Bernice Atu and their local community have acquired land and begun the construction of the first building in their EcoVillage Living and Learning Center in Kibeti. This summer, Fr. Jean Claude Atusameso visited the site. Photographs are available upon request.
Both Fr. Jean Claude Atusameso and Anne Goeke have continued their efforts to finding financial support for the next phase of this program. The first donation shipment to DRC has left that includes a truck for the ecovillage and should arrive shortly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 2nd phase proposal will be available by early 2006.
As a final summary, Earth Rights Institute concludes that this 1st phase of the program has successfully made a positive impact on the locals in the community that are creating this EcoVillage Living and Learning Center. There has been international recognition from various organizations and groups regarding our work to be essential in the development of a culture of peace in Africa. These achievements were made possible through the fact that we received support from Tet Ansanm Fund of the Tides Foundation for the initial stage of this program.
Our next challenge grows greater as Earth Rights Institute’s goal is to expand our program of this first ecological and sustainable pilot model for rural development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our challenge is ensuring that we have the funds to continue our work. To achieve this goal we look to develop new partnerships and support from other organizations and foundations. With others, we can help support the right form of development that will fester the ending of deep economic disparities, environmental degradation and poverty for people of the world.
Report submitted by Anne Goeke, Co-Director Earth Rights Institute