Rebuilding Lives and Infrastructure in Eastern DRC
For the children of Bunagana, the construction of a new school is cause for celebration.
BUNAGANA, February 11, 2014— Since the end of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the town of Bunagana, in the territory of Rutshuru, has slowly started to come alive. “We suffered greatly,” says Liberata Burawa, the administrator of this territory located in the North Kivu province.
This blog has for the last two years chronicled the failures of the DR Congo, the nations surrounding it, as well as the failures of the many international organisations involved in the DR Congo, lets not forget the World and most depressingly of all humanity AKA us. It would seem that maybe, just maybe, things are starting to change.
It is Saturday, December 14, and the atmosphere in this small town , 78 kilometers away from Goma (the capital of North Kivu) , is festive. A large crowd has gathered at this locale fraught with symbolism—the former headquarters of the armed group M23—to participate in launching an emergency school reconstruction project funded by the World Bank. “We are delighted that the World Bank is helping us rebuild our school,” says principal Mateso Muhima.
The World Bank is in effect the UN and while it is early days yet one would have to say that this is a result of the excellent work that MONUSCO has achieved over the last year in suppressing armed groups. The UN needs to look at all its peacekeeping operations and more specifically the mandates those operations are working under. Since the MONUSCO mandate was altered to allow it an offensive capability we have seen some real results in the DR Congo. If that means the UN can move from a peacekeeping / stabilisation faster and The World Bank becomes the UN's lead agency in ( former ) conflict zones sooner surely we all win.
The new school opening today, a mere 39 days after the departure of the M23, is testament to the World Bank’s deep commitment to this region of the DRC. “It was important to us to respond as quickly as possible to this urgent situation,” says Eustache Ouayoro, World Bank country director in the DRC, who traveled from the country’s capital, Kinshasa, to take part in the ceremony.
39 days is bloody phenomenal and I am not in the least bit surprised. The World Bank is part of the UN Development Programme and that that part of the UN works should surprise know one. It is run by " Aunty Helen " as I think of her, one of the greatest Prime Ministers my country ( New Zealand ) has ever had and if the world wants a UN that works then it need look no further than Helen as the next Secretary General. I am a very proud Kiwi and yes we want her back but think about it ... New Zealand might just have to wait a bit.
The same sense of elation reigns in Kibumba, in the territory of Nyiragongo, where another school is opening on the same day. Here, too, the school bears the marks of war, its roof pierced by shrapnel. Without desks and chairs, the teachers stand all day and the students sit on stones. “The benches were used as firewood,” a teacher explains, adding: “You know, there are children who have not attended school in 10 years. Today, you are giving us hope.”
Let's do better, a lot better than just hope. Let's change things, dickheads with guns and an
Priority to the most vulnerable communities
This emergency work is the result of the World Bank’s commitment to rapid aid for reconstruction of the eastern region of the DRC, ravaged by many years of war. A US$6 million advance will fund preparatory work for the Eastern Region Stabilization and Peace-Building Project (STEP), which seeks to stabilize vulnerable communities in North and South Kivu, as well as in the Ituri, Bas-Uélé and Haut-Uélé districts in Orientale Province. Special attention will be paid to those hardest hit by the conflict, such as the internally displaced and their host communities, at-risk youth, and women.
My daughters come from this community. Today I watched them here in Auckland but mainly I watched my first daughter who has been here for just about 3 years interacting with her sisters who have been here just about 3 weeks. I have never seen her so happy. It is impossible for me to understand what my kids have been through, it is probably impossible for you my readers to understand but I cried with joy for them. This is what the UN is trying to do.
STEP also seeks to reinforce the new prospects for peace and economic recovery. Addressing the collateral effects of the war, it will aid in economic reintegration, support repair and construction of community infrastructure, and help the population groups impacted by the war to rebound. “Vulnerable communities are our top priority,” says Maurizia Tovo, the World Bank’s task team leader.
To achieve its objectives, the project focuses on three aspects of recovery: community-building and better access to basic socioeconomic services; job creation to boost income among vulnerable population groups; and strengthening the capabilities of provincial authorities and entities.
I just wonder, has anyone thought about Emmanuel at Virunga National Park
He is bloody amazing and he has been quietly doing the job that we want done. He probably won't want to leave his park but he might be the man to run the UN Eastern DR Congo programme.
The STEP project is only one aspect of a more ambitious initiative the World Bank plans to implement in this region of the DRC. During a visit to the Great Lakes region last May, the president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, traveling with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, announced the provision of US$1 billion in funding to help countries in the region improve their health and education services, increase cross-border trade, and finance hydroelectric projects.
I agree with the initative . This blog however has noted all to often the regional ambitions of the DR Congo's neighbours. Balkanisation is not on the agenda.