Promoting Health with Local Partners
Idjwi Island is a peaceful yet impoverished island in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is minimal access to health care on Idjwi, resulting in one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. 1 in 6 children die before their first birthday.
During her teen years, Dr. Edwige Mubonzi lived for a time on Idjwi Island. She was deeply moved by the malnutrition of children and the lack of health care she and her family witnessed. At age 14, she vowed to become a doctor to be able to help those on Idjwi Island. Her father, supporting her dream, gave her a small plot of land upon which to build the clinic.
Current island leaders, well-known to Dr. Mubonzi and her family, are committed to building a hospital with special programs for women and children. Mwendo Congo shares and supports this vision. Land for the hospital (a plot adjacent to Dr. Edwige's gifted plot) has been purchased with the support of Mwendo Congo, and cleared by the islanders.
We are blessed to partner with a team of highly skilled, strategic and compassionate leaders in the DRC who have recently formed a Congolese non-profit organization called the Idjwi Initiative. Like Mwendo Congo, the Idjwi Initiative is a group of volunteers committed to using best organizational practices to realize our vision.
In October 2015, the Health Working Group of Mwendo Congo made a commitment to support the plan of our Congolese partners, Idjwi Initiative, to purchase a health water taxi. After twenty months of dedicated work by both organizations, along with Minnesotan and Congolese Rotary Clubs, the financing of this life-saving project was completed in June with a $31,500 grant from Mwendo Congo to Idjwi Initiative. Thank you!
The Health Water Taxi will provide immediate benefit to the pregnant woman of South Idjwi Island by safely transporting them to medical facilities for skilled attention during, and after, the delivery of their babies. This will save lives. The maternal and infant mortality rate on South Idjwi Island is one of the highest in the world. The boat will also operate as a water taxi on Lake Kivu, and all profits of the water taxi operation will be used to support the work of Idjwi Initiative.
In July 2017, two Board members of Idjwi Initiative traveled from Bukavu to Dubai to inspect the 30-passenger water taxi before finalizing the purchase. After the visit, Idjwi Initiative President Pastor Christian Mubonzi wrote,
“The boat is of very good quality. The most important detail of the boat is the compartmental construction of its hull. This means that if there is a hole in the hull of the boat, the water will just fill the impacted compartment and not the entire hull. Until today there is no boat in Bukavu that has this level of safety. This is a crucial point for marketing! "Who will not love to travel in a boat that can not sink?"
It is with a sense of gratitude, peace and great joy that we will offer Idjwi pregnant women a safe transport to hospitals where they can give birth under the assistant of qualified medical personnel. AMEN.
Alone, we would not be able to do it. Thank you very much for good collaboration and support - material, moral and spiritual.”
All Mwendo Congo donors were invited to submit a photo and/or words of blessing to be included in a photo book that will be created and delivered to Idjwi Initiative by the next Mwendo Congo delegation traveling to the DRC.