Background: After our first in-person exposure to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the sustainability issues facing the Nebobongo hospital, surrounding community and church that we serve with came into sharp focus. We saw for ourselves that the hospital is serving a population that is unable to pay for basic services. If we act only to improve the capabilities of the hospital (which is vitally important) we will do nothing to steer it toward long-term sustainability. With only 30% of hospital bills paid by patients, it is obvious that something needs to be done to assist the church to develop the local economy. We were able to identify well over thirty programs presented by the church and hospital that either directly impact the poor, strategically enhance the church’s ability to do so or address sustainability issues. One of the programs that we launched is bringing livestock back to the community. High school student, Ryan Schmidt, founded this program called Animals of Opportunity to raise funds for the ongoing training, crop growing and pig micro-finance program. He has already raised about $8,000 and we have started the program by providing training for the agricultural leader of this program in Uganda, purchasing seeds and plants to grow crops, and funds set aside to purchase the pigs, holding pens and breeding site as soon as the crops are ready. This is an ongoing program that we hope to expand to other neighboring communities as well. You can click on the link below to purchase shirts for this cause or to donate funds directly. Each pig costs about $60.
Current: Pigs are the primary vehicle for income generation in the region. Without any banking systems in the region, pigs represent a person’s savings account. By selling a pig an individual can pay school fees, medical bills, buy other goods or donate to the church. The proposed pig program is a combination of assistance and development. Our goal is to partner with the church to restore pig ownership in the region following an epidemic that wiped out the pig and goat populations, but in a more sustainable way than before. Using a village co-op based program to educate and distribute pigs and bringing in a breed that is resistant to the disease outbreak that swept through the community will provide the church the circumstances to provide economic opportunity for the poor while proclaiming the full gospel of Christ. The pigs will be a “loan” with the principle and interest paid in the form of piglets from the first litter that will be used to grow and perpetuate the program from village to village. There has been some difficulty with getting enough crops to grow to feed the pigs and we are hoping to help the church purchase a palm oil press machine that allows for palm oil shells and nuts for the pigs and oil that can be used as another business to make and sell soap.
Cost: $4500 to purchase the palm oil press and $3000 for more pigs for the community
This video has some background and information on Nebobongo and some of the programs we have moved forward on, including the pigs.