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

AU Takes Action on Boko Haram, Defers on S. Sudan

African Union is moving forward with a request for a military force to stop the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in West Africa; Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision to form a five-nation force More

Mass Protests Held for 58 Killed in Pakistani Shi'ite Mosque Bombing

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets across Pakistan Saturday to protest a powerful bomb blast at a mosque in Sindh province during Friday prayers, killing dozens of people More

Williams Wins Australian Open with Straight-Set Victory over Sharapova

The win is Serena Williams' sixth in Australia, and her 19th overall Grand Slam title 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid