Ecovillage

 

The Congo’s Natural Beauty and Abundant Resources


The DRC is home to over half of Africa’s forests and water supply. The Congo’s rainforests are second only to Brazil’s Amazon in supplying the world’s oxygen, making the country known to many as  one of “The Lungs of Africa.”

 

Water flow from the Congo Basin alone could provide electricity to all of sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s natural resources include 80 percent of the world’s coltan (a mineral needed to manufacture electric capacitors for cell phones, computers, and many other electronics) and vast amounts of cobalt, copper,  niobium, petroleum, diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, and timber.

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Defining The Ecovillage Model


One of Jatukik Providence Foundation’s proudest achievements has been the establishment of the pilot ecovillage in Kibeti in 2005.

 

As the “eco” in ecovillage suggests, the primary focus of this development model is to create sustainable communities that are harmonious with the natural world. To achieve this goal, the ecovillage utilizes a number of green initiatives including but not limited to: supporting organic food production, use of renewable energy sources, preservation of natural surroundings through proper waste and energy management, maximizing use of local materials for construction and manufacturing, and protection of biodiversity.

 

This model of effective and respectful use of natural resources makes a particularly compelling case for long-term sustainable development in the DRC, which ranks among the world’s poorest countries based on per capita GDP but one of the richest in natural resources and minerals. By sharing knowledge about agricultural techniques and energy and resource management, the ecovillage model aims to promote sustainable social and economic development in the DRC by creating and replicating a system in which the Congolese people can take advantage of the abundance of natural resources around them as a means to achieving growth and prosperity.

 

As the “village” implies, central to the ecovillage concept is the establishment of community. In addition to integrating harmoniously with nature, members of the ecovillage implement systems and infrastructure for democratic governance, commerce, and education. In the DRC, where a lack of good governance, public participation in the political process, and gender equality have stifled growth and reform, the ecovillage’s emphasis on self-governance and self-sufficiency represents a  model for the empowerment of women and democratic decision making.

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Breaking Ground: JPF’s First Ecovillage in Kibeti

 

After traveling to Senegal to receive training in ecovillage development from Eco-Yoff, Jatukik Providence Foundation personnel coordinated the first ecovillage project in the Bandundu Province, located in western Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Kibeti is comprised of 13 villages and approximately 20,000 people who escaped disease and violence from other regions of the Congo.

 

JPF’s unique ecovillage in Kibeti provides comprehensive area development, stresses local ownership of the projects, and facilitates community governance.

 

Some of the foundation’s achievements in Kibeti include:

 

  • Construction of the Kibeti Health Center, a small health clinic in the Kibeti ecovillage that provides needed medical services to local villagers who would otherwise travel great distances to receive care. The clinic treats approximately 25 patients per month for a range of ailments including cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, malaria, yellow fever, polio, and meningitis.

 

  • Establishment of democratic governing structure, including committees to oversee range of issues, including: Conservation, Education, Advancement of Women, Agriculture, Health Care, Sanitation, Economy, and Community Housing.

 

  • Inclusive system of governance and decision making for Kibeti citizens, benefiting women, in particular, who are often excluded in such processes.

 

  • Operation of adult literacy and training school, currently educating over 250 adults in the village to read and write, as well providing vocation-based instruction in sewing, agriculture, and other trades.

 

  • Construction of village kindergarten, currently providing education and nurturing environment for over 50 young children.

 

  • Improved economic and livelihood opportunities through agricultural education and technical assistance programs aimed at assisting farming productivity.

 

  • Implementation of electoral process in the ecovillage, which has significantly increased female representation in the village government (20% of elected officials are women compared to 8% in the national parliament).

 

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