News / Africa

In DRC, UN, Private Sector Program Trains Women

FILE - Women carry their belongings as they return to Kanyabayonga town, Democratic Republic of Congo.
FILE - Women carry their belongings as they return to Kanyabayonga town, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Margaret Besheer
On bustling Route Matadi in the Mbinza-Barré district of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, traffic speeds along as people go about the daily business of their lives.
 
In one unassuming building, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Congo, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, has been working with a local NGO to provide a group of women with skills that can translate to the marketplace.
 
Ranging in age from 17 to 40, the 50 women receive training in computers, marketing, sewing and English.
 
Part of a three-month pilot program called a “quick impact project,” it costs about $30,000. Course participants such as Annie Kika says she is grateful for the training and that she'd like to see more programs of this kind.
 
According to Laure Gnassou, a MONUSCO economic affairs officer, the main criterion for choosing participants is motivation.
 
So far no one has dropped out, but only four women passed a hiring exam given by a local recruiting firm at the program's conclusion. All four have since found jobs, with one starting Monday at the Bank of Africa. The other three have been hired as sales representatives at private companies.
 
Gnassou says she is not disappointed by the low passing rate.
 
“You are in a very under-privileged area," she said. "Education — knowing how to write, to do calculations — it's not so easy, so you have to take that into consideration.”
 
One woman who did not pass the recruiting exam, 35-year-old Nanette Kabalu Mwamba, a mother of four, says she hopes she will get a second chance to take the test.
 
But regardless of whether they pass, most participants say they still benefit from the training.
 
While rich in mineral resources and possessing great economic potential, Congo suffers from instability, poor governance, lack of infrastructure, widespread poverty and rampant unemployment.
 
Gilbert Yegani, CEO of G.H. Investment, one of the companies that partnered with MONUSCO, said he has spoken to the women about marketing and entrepreneurship and encouraged them to start their own small companies, saying it is better to create jobs than to wait to be hired in this economic climate.
 
“Some will find employment in existing companies, but my expectation is the one who learns how to make a dress using a sewing machine can become by themselves an owner of a small enterprise making fabrics as you are seeing," he said. "Some will create a cyber cafe, a training center for her IT [information technology], that's what we are expecting.”
 
Yegani says the women will need equipment, such as computers and sewing machines, which the private sector will try to help them find funding for, or obtain loans from a micro-lender.
 
Despite the challenges, MONUSCO's Gnassou is optimistic about the pilot program, and says sustainable economic growth will not come from international donors, but from the strength of Congo's private sector.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More