by Congo Initiative
Service-Learning is a way of learning how to serve others. What makes it different from other kinds of learning is that in SL we learn while serving. The SL works with interns as well as the local community; often people in need. Service-Learning in the community wants to give hope to the hopeless. The only way of doing this is to change challenges into opportunities.
SL in the community of Beni has some projects which fight against poverty, as it is a case for goats’ project. This project consisted of distributing goats to five deferent associations operating in Beni town and neighboring villages: Cantine, Kabasha, and Oicha. The project was financed by a church, Upper Room, in Minnesota (USA). It targeted vulnerable women. They chose women because in Africa, especially in Congo, women are the main providers in their families.
The goats’ project is very strategic. It combines breeding and agriculture. These women learned new skills at seminar during the launch of the project. They use goats’ manure for fertilizer in their gardens. They have gardens where they plant: leek, eggplant, soy beans, and other vegetables. Some women are subsistence farmers, while others farm and sell their produce as a small business. For example, the women from the group in Oicha (30 km away from Beni), earned $100 after selling eggplant crop.
What the women like the most about this project is that several women will benefit from it. In fact, the goat project started by giving five to ten goats to a group (depending on the number of women in the group). The first recipient raises a goat until it births a kid. The kid is given to another woman then the first recipient holds ownership of the goat. Though, some groups are impatient to give each member of their association a goat. However, some groups are feeling impatient. For each woman to receive her goat will take a long period of time.
The group from kabasha (14 km away from Beni town) decided to buy two more goats. Each member contributed a small amount of money to purchase the goats. This helped multiply their efforts. However, these women still need to work hard to make their dreams come true. Each member is eagerly waiting for a goat and do not know the precise date they will get it. A few goats died of unknown diseases; therefore, they think that they still need to learn more about raising goats.
Even so Service-Learning is still looking forward to finding clear connection to this project.