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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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