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.
Continued reading from our newsletter: click here to read Dr. Tshomba's story
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.
The next step towards improved health for South Idjwi Island is to purchase a speedboat that will serve as a means of medical transport (of patients and health care workers) and as a water taxi that will generate income for Idjwi Initiative. Until the South Idjwi hospital is built, access to medical care is dependent on transport to a hospital on the mainland or on the western side of the island (Monvu).
Mwendo Congo has raised $31,500 toward the purchase of a 29 passenger speed boat. Idjwi Initiative, our partner, has raised the remaining amount (just over $100,000) through loans from Congolese and U.S. individuals. Together, we are putting the final pieces of the plan in place, and hope to have the boat in Bukavu by early September, 2017, ready to set sail!