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Earth Rights Institute would like to thank the Tet Ansanm Fund of Tides Foundation for their financial support to fully fund the1st Phase of this Democratic Republic of Congo Initiative. Our sincere thanks goes to Wendy Emrich for having made this happen.

Report Jatukik Providence Foundation/Earth Rights Institute Meeting Report
(Bandundu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
May 20th – 29th 2005

(Clic ici pour le Français)


MAY 2005


One cannot remain oblivious to the harmful effects that industrialization has had on the ecosystems that humankind inhabit. With this in mind, the members of the Jatukik Providence Foundation propose that it is time to turn to a more stable and harmonious approach to sustainable development with respect to humanity and the environment. Thus, we have chosen to implement ecovillages as a means of development in the rural area of Kibeti. This report describes the May 20 - 29, 2005 meeting that helped establish the first ecovillage in the village of Kibeti located in the Bandundu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Additionally, in the implementation of ecovillages in DRC we hope to work in collaboration with the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) in developing an ecovillage model. Having received training at the Eco Yoff ecovillage in Dakar, Senegal, we plan to adapt the successful ecovillage model of Senegal to the conditions in the DRC.

The objective of this meeting, held by Father Jean-Claude Atusameso (President of the Foundation in DRC and Program Coordinator for Earth Rights Institute DRC) was to draw up the goals of Earth Rights Institute and the Jatukik Providence Foundation to launch this program. The ecovillage in Kibeti will eventually become part of a larger network of ecovillages in the Congo.

Following is the report outlining the themes of the meeting:

  1. Background study,
  2. Gathering support of the local population,
  3. Applying the method of constructive exploration,
  4. Conclusion presenting the goals of this report.


We based this study on a series of questions which we addressed to the villages’ general population. This included the chief of Sungu community and the Ngulumbishi groups, village chiefs; elder, the elementary schools’ principals, the high schools’ principals, teachers, nurses, church representatives, farmers, traveling traders, presidents of the school and medical committees, the chief of the station of Kibeti, owners of the mixing mills, wives of the teachers and peasant farmers.


The region of Kibeti is found in the Masi-manimba territory in the province of Bandundu. It is composed of thirteen villages (Mbamba, Koshi, Mbanza-lungangu, Kibeti, Kikonga, Kiationpindji, Kihungu, Kinda, Kikumbi, Musala, Kingangu, Kikombo, and Kikishi) with two main ethnic groups: the Bambala occupy eight villages and the Batsamba inhabit five villages of their own. Both of these groups trace their origins to the Kwango River basin area of Angola. Their ancestors left the Kwango’s source and ended up in the territory now known as Gungu. Soon afterwards, they fled advancing colonial powers and headed to the mouth of the Kwenge and Kwilu rivers. Dispersed by a famine caused by elephant-damaged crops, they moved on again with their chief Ngulumbishi. Following the source of the Kwenge River, they finally settled between the Kunga, Kimbedi, Kanzumbu and Muwangi Rivers.

In 1943, a three-room Baptist primary school and post office were constructed for Kibeti. Some ask why this station was named Kibeti instead of Kikonga, to which it is closer. The story says that upon the arrival of the Belgian Jesuit missionary, Father Jean, only the chief of the Kibeti village attended the school opening as the chief of Kikonga declined and escaped into the forest. Thus the missionary decided to baptize the place in the name of Kibeti.


Kibeti is located in the south of the territory of Masi-manimba, in the county of Sungu. It is bordered in the north by the Kunga River, south by the Muwang River, east by the Kwenge River and west by the county of Lobo, a territory of Feshi. The village of Kibeti is situated between three of the region’s centers of development: Feshi City (48 km), Pay Kongila County (65 km) and the Catholic mission of Kingandu (68km). There are two seasons: rainy (nine months) and dry (three months). The terrain consists of small forests known as galeries that go along the rivers. The major vegetation consists of bush and a woody savanna.

Major deforestation is happening and the rivers are not navigable because of the rapids. Fishing by dugout or boat is extremely difficult. One wonders if these rapids could be favorable for the production of electricity. A possibility would be to produce hydro-electricity at the falls of the Kimbedi River where Kibeti ecovillage will be located.


The economy of Kibeti is largely agrarian and is based on the production of palm oil, farming and the exchange of goods manufactured locally. The closing of Kibeti’s oil mill as a result of bankruptcy has only worsened the socio-economic situation of the region. Due to the lack of vehicles in the area, the construction of agricultural service roads is impractical. Consequently, without the means to send their agricultural products to commercial centers, the people of Kibeti have been forced into subsistence farming, and therefore lack money circulation. This has made the development of profitable commercial activity extremely difficult. The majority of the villages practice fish farming but lack the essential tools and materials to further develop this as an economic activity.

The absence of both transportation and telecommunications infrastructures has compounded the problems the local people face. To enable economic development, it will be necessary to establish some small industrial businesses. Creating workshops that equip villagers with the skills to manufacture tools will aid not only Kibeti, but also help the socio-economic condition of the region as a whole.



Located at the center of Kibeti are four schools, two primary schools (one Catholic, the other Protestant) and two secular secondary schools. These schools lack basic necessities such as desks, chairs, hygienic toilet facilities and most importantly educational materials - textbooks, access to the Internet, and other learning