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- DR Congo: Mweso
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The SOG scholarship program in Mweso was initiated in Berlin in 2010. Since then, 197 motivated Congolese men and women were able to study at an agricultural institute in Mweso, a city located in the Democratic Republic Congo. Up until 2019, 106 of the selected students have graduated successfully, many of them with honours. As multipliers of their knowledge, scholars have a sustained impact on their local communities and contribute significantly to the region’s advancement. Our shared objective is to work towards a long-term land use that sustainably takes advantage of the vast agricultural potential. We believe that education is the key to sustainable development.
A crucial selection criterion, besides the applicants’ university entrance qualification and indigence, is their personal motivation and – above all – a proposal for a social project aiming to actively shape the development of the region. The projects are being planned and prepared in close cooperation with our partner organisation CADEP during their times of study and implemented after successful graduation. There is an incredibly great diversity of project ideas – they range from empowerment of victims of sexual violence and seminars on vegetable cultivation and the breeding of higher protein chickens to the cultivation of eucalyptus crops to counter erosion and deforestation. Some proposals such as the foundation of agricultural cooperatives are being put into practice while the students are still studying. Other examples of the scholarship’s scope include workshops on sex education or a weekly radio broadcast by an alumnus of the program.
The SOG scholarship program in Mweso is being coordinated by our local partner organization, CADEP, in Goma. In Germany, the local SOG groups in Aachen, Berlin and Dresden oversee the program. The central duties include the yearly selection of scholarship recipients and to ensure continuous communication with CADEP, sponsors and the recipient community as well as public relations. In addition, new challenges and ideas come up frequently, for instance the establishment and coordination of an alumni network for former recipients and the institute’s integration in the electricity network. In collaboration with CADEP, we also regularly plan workshops for students in Mweso, moderated by experienced NGOs and alumni, with the aim to transmit knowledge of project management, conflict mediation, micro financing and IT skills.
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