Trip to Rutshuru – March 2022 (EN)11th May 2022
In the month of March, we finally had the opportunity to visit our team in Rutshuru and start the WYLD journey with a new cohort of young people. Not only did we go to start a new programme, we also went to evaluate the social action projects of our young people. We had a wonderful time sharing our experiences with the young people whilst inspiring them to think about their responsibility to the community and the importance of problem solving.
The Congo Tree has been running the WYLD Programme in Rutshuru since 2017, this time round we had the pleasure of launching our 5th cohort.
Our vision is always to inspire, equip and support young people. We want to develop their personal skills and show them that they should have big visions. Our programme is based on personal development and we have developed sessions on leadership images, self-knowledge, conflict resolution, confidence, teamwork and mentoring. Over the next year this new group of young people will influence each other, by attending monthly meetings and by participating in the mentoring programme.
In order for the mentoring relationships to evolve well among the youth, we ran a Tree of Life session with the youth which allows our young people to identify their skills, understand their backgrounds and share their visions for the future.
Rutshuru, being a part of the North Kivu province, has known a lot of conflict and insecurity due to the armed groups present in the area. The latest activity was reported in January 2022 with the resurrection of various armed groups in the eastern part of Rutshuru territory. Previously, these armed groups had taken control of the Rutshuru Territory for more than a year. Not only armed groups, but tribal and ethnic conflicts continue to aggrieve the population. Young people can all too easily be manipulated by politicians but also by their traditional authorities, which can make them both victims and perpetrators.
Five years after starting The Congo Tree WYLD Programme, we are seeing how our youth are participating in solving problems in the community. These young people, having received the necessary training on conflict resolution, are forming peace clubs in the community to bring about peaceful cohabitation.
Not only working on peace, our young people are undertaking actions that can help the community. With regards to the evaluation, we encountered that a number of our young leaders have initiated social action projects in the community. In response to the problems of malnutrition and food insecurity, our young people have started social action projects with a focus on plant agriculture and livestock.
Now there are community fields bringing together young people from different tribes to farm land together. Today with our 60 young people who are equipped in the WYLD programme, we are impacting the community and contributing towards creating a positive image of Rutshuru.
To round off our trip, we caught up with quite a few of our alumni who have gone on to do great things in the community. Our hope is that in 10 years’ time we will see a community where young people are taking the lead in community development.
Two weeks after leaving Rutshuru, sadly our young people had to leave their homes in search for safety as conflict broke out yet again. As far as we’re currently aware, people are starting to return back to their homes and we hope that it will soon be secure enough for our young people to hold their monthly meetings.
We continue to hold our young people, their families and their communities in our hearts. We ask that you join us in continuing to hope and pray for stability and security.