International COVID-19 Grant

Training for Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Training for Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Women of the DRC receive diplomas as COVID-19 health advocates.

Sixty-six women who were representing six districts in the Democratic Republic of Congo met in Kalemie to train on how to safely prevent COVID-19 this fall. The second phase of the training took place in Kabalo with seven more districts. The women overcame many challenges to gather, such as bridging vast distances and traveling safely in the Tanganyika region.

The President of Tanganyika United Methodist Women Alfonsine Moma Kakudji acknowledged all of the participants. Pastor Ngoy Mwayuma Jacqueline reported, “As a clergywoman, I have learned to be alert on COVID-19 as an opportunity to bring a message of health and as a call to action for women, not only to laywomen but also to clergywomen.” 

Regarding the role of women, Dr. Esquin Mbuyu, a medical doctor at United Methodist clinic in Kalemie, described women as the backbones of families, the sellers in the markets, and caregivers of children in homes and local churches. The doctor emphasized the importance of hearing the voices of women mobilized from many areas of daily life and from many districts. One key message of prevention is to wear masks whenever one is out of one’s home. 

As she celebrated the women who sewed face masks and established handwashing stations in communities, President Kakudji said, “We move forward as women to take bold action in Tanganyika Annual Conference in order to save lives.”

Overcoming Flooding, the Women Advocated for Clean Water

With the second training in Kabalo, a district that has suffered severe flooding, women have been seriously impacted by the climate crisis. The United Methodist Women’s presence for the training in Kabalo was a welcome shift to energize women who had been resilient after they suffered the flooding of neighborhoods. The floods adversely affected women’s homes, fields and safe water supplies, a source of income for peasant women, according to Nkulu Malanga Victorine, Kabalo District Chair. Participant Mwange Zaina Marceline reported that this difficult time of COVID-19 is calling women to reflect on daily hygiene and safe water to protect family and neighbors.

Increasing access to clean water and health services in the Kabalo District will be of a big help, not only for Methodist women, but for all women and children in the community, workshop leader Mujinga Euphraisie shared. Indigenous women, for instance, are frequently marginalized; they lack access to clean water, schools for their children and maternal healthcare. “Women are called, wherever they are, to care for one another and uplift one another,” District Chair Gertrude Mutumpe Nyunzu affirmed.

With emergency funds from the international COVID-19 grants made by the United Methodist Women, the women in the Tanganyika Conference were trained to protect people of all ages and to make homes and neighborhoods healthier. From this region, characterized by natural disasters, violence, domestic violence and internally displaced people, the women are stepping up to train and equip one other to fight injustice and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Rev. Dr. Betty Kazadi Musau is the North Katanga communicator for the United Methodist Women Country Team for the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Posted or updated: 11/13/2020 12:00:00 AM