The Democratic Republic of Congo is a land of unparalleled beauty and natural wealth. Mineral resources, rainforests, and an abundance of lakes and rivers make Congo one of the most richly endowed countries on Earth. Congo’s greatest strength though is its people, who are rich in faith, courage, and hope.
We work in a place of great pain and suffering as well as incredible hope and opportunity. We approach our work with prayer and reflection as Congo’s history and much of its current reality is marked with tragedy. Through decades of colonial rule, dictatorship, political upheaval, civil war, and environmental degradation, the Congolese people remain resilient and hopeful. In 2016, the government led by then Presiden, Jospeh Kabila, postponed elections, raising concerns Congo may “slide into anarchy and possibly civil war over Kabila’s decision to remain in power.” Elections were postponed for two years until December 2018 when Felix Tshisekedi was announced as the new president.
Since 2014, an increase in violence and conflict has plagued eastern Congo and particularly, the territory of Beni where our programs are located. Close to 2,000 people have been killed.
Further complicating the situation, DR Congo’s Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. Since August 1, 2018, over 2000 people have died from the deadly disease.
Congo Initiative is based in North Kivu province, eastern Congo, in the city of Beni (population: approximately 250,000). Beni is located 75 kilometers (46.5 miles) west of the Ugandan border and the Rwenzori Mountains. The North Kivu province stretches along Congo’s eastern border with Rwanda and Uganda. The provincial capital is Goma, located 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Beni.
We began serving local communities in the Beni area as early as 2002 before establishing the Christian Bilingual University of Congo (UCBC) in 2007. Today, our growing organization continues to serve this community through five initiatives and a global community on three continents.