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Democratic Republic of Congo: Growing a future for local youth after the diamond mines have closed

As part of an on-going partnership with the Via Don Bosco network of schools, Teach A Man To Fish are currently visiting the Centre Mazarello in Mbuji-Mayi, central DRC. Consultants from our Uganda and Rwanda office have so far spent one week at the school, leading a series of participative workshops and working with staff and students to plan the school businesses.

The town of Mbuji-Mayi has an extremely high rate of unemployment since the state-run diamond mine closed six years ago. It is also very isolated, with extremely poor road infrastructure meaning that most supplies must be flown in. A combination of high unemployment and high cost of living drives many locals to move away or attempt dangerous artisanal mining in search of diamonds.

 

 

The Centre Mazarello operates in this challenging environment and aims to give a quality education to youth, who often come from single parent households and have received little education before joining the school. However, the school itself also faces challenges, including students that struggle to pay school fees, no proper road access and reliance on solar power for electricity.

The school is aiming to address these challenges through a number of school enterprises that will offer students a practical experience of business and the opportunity to gain technical and business skills to help them succeed after graduation. With the support of Teach A Man To Fish, teachers and students have started researching 5 businesses: piggery, poultry, bakery, cassava flour production and smoked meat production.

‘Thanks to the Teach A Man To Fish training, I have finally understood the business theory I studied at university. I would say that the training is really practical and has fulfilled my expectations’ – Eddy-Floryk Kalanda, Secretary, Centre Mazarello.

‘In most trainings, you find that the trainers are the ones who do most of the talking. But with Teach A Man To Fish, it’s really participative and the trainers are more like facilitators. It’s great!’ - Rachel Tshiala, Community Health Manager for the Mbuji-Mayi-based NGO ACN.


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