Animal Rearing, Sewing Skills, and Education
Early in 2010, COFAPRI introduced an animal rearing project, starting with one pig and 3 rabbits.
Women are now generating a significant income from animal-rearing, which enables them to contribute towards household costs and school fees for their children. The first steps towards economic empowerment.
In August 2013, COFAPRI initiated a Sewing Skills Programme, which trains women and girls from rural areas in sewing activities.
Recently we have also introduced the teaching of knitting skills too, which is also very popular.
When families are unable to fund the schooling of children, we do our best to help contribute towards school fees; especially in the case of children born of rape, who may even have no family.
Currently, COFAPRI is sponsoring the education (fees and school materials) of 23 children.
Beneficiaries and stakeholders are also involved in COFAPRI’s project development programmes. Beneficiaries regularly attend classes, thus showing their willingness to learn. COFAPRI informs its stakeholders of every update; stakeholders are welcome to visit COFAPRI when they wish to do so.
There is a sense of unity among COFAPRI’s members; the women are providing advice and assistance to one another. COFAPRI is also currently addressing the issue of domestic abuse; so far, this has been encouraging.
The future and sustainability
COFAPRI’s long term plan for sustainability is for rural women in the DRC to be self-dependent regarding financial and household issues.
In order to move towards sustainability, COFAPRI requires its own land where it can operate farms, sewing centres and schools.
We would like to have qualified staff to help train the women in their activities. Moreover, the possibility of these women’s children to attend school would be encouraging. However, this cannot be achieved without sustained peace in the region; security would aid COFAPRI’s endeavour to help the rural women of DRC.
The next step is to get local permission for COFAPRI to start work in Goma, North Kivu, where our work is also much-needed. We are currently in the process of seeking registration to operate in North Kivu.
We already have a team in place in Goma. However, due to the frequent wars affecting the villages around Goma, the contacts with the women have been interrupted.
Further plans involve registering COFAPRI at the national level, so that the work can gradually be expanded throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo.