As the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) began looking at new projects for 2012, numerous factors came into play ranging from the long-term sustainability and the evangelism component to the risks and, importantly, where the need is most dire.
Click here to read about new projects in need of funding for 2012.
That’s exactly why the Democratic Republic of Congo has been an area of focus in 2010-11. “The Archbishops who serve as our trustees pointed to Congo as an area of the most need; it’s where the least of the least are,” said Nancy Norton, executive director of ARDF. It’s also an area where ARDF has been able to work with great success.
ARDF Results for the Glory of God: The Lwanwa Primary School Project
One example is a community school project in the Anglican Diocese of Bukavu that ARDF embraced. Decades of conflict destroyed communities, families and infrastructure leaving a lack of educational facilities in the wake of the violence. Churches became key partners in the efforts to rebuild schools.
The Diocese of Bukavu is credited with teaching Christian values to students in its 131 schools. While teachers are paid by the government, the Diocese is responsible for most of the operating expenses.
A great need was put forth for the reconstruction of the Lwanwa Primary School in Walungu district (population of roughly 7,000), Bukavu. And with the blessing of its trustees, ARDF began fundraising just over $60,000 to meet the construction planning needs, which included building new permanent classrooms, water tanks and pit latrines. As stated by ARDF, the goal was to increase enrollment, help protect children, improve teacher retention and provide safe and clean facilities for classes, vaccinations, national examinations and a place to share God’s Word.
The ARDF’s impact report on the project put the amazing results in perspective: The 18-month project has completely transformed the school – from temporary, grass-thatched classrooms to nine new permanent classrooms, a large 12,000 liter water tank and six new toilets (pit latrines). Student enrollment has tripled since the completion of school, from 212 students when the project began in 2008, to 459 a year later and a total of 630 students in 2010. Five additional teachers have been hired, bringing the total to nine full-time teachers.
In addition, due to the infrastructure and facility funding ARDF provided, the school attracted another donor, the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP). “Due to the fact that we built the water wells and the latrines, that allowed the school to leverage those resources for the food aid, strengthening the children’s ability to learn,” said Norton.
The UNWFP’s involvement resulted in a school feeding project, which has allowed children who are assured of one meal a day the opportunity to worry less about being hungry and concentrate more on their school work. The school director decided to diversify food menus by growing a variety of vegetables in an on-site garden. The six local women who were selected to help cook meals for the kids also receive a package of about 37 kg of food, which they can use to feed their own families or trade to meet their family’s needs.
The utility of the school has now expanded far beyond education and is focal point for the entire community, offering everything from vaccinations to health and agricultural classes for adult residents.
ARDF is engaging in inspiring work like the Lwanwa School Project around the globe. The organization’s mission reflects “God’s call to go to the ends of the earth. He told us to take care of our brothers and sisters not just in Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, or Florida, but all over the world,” said Norton.
Individuals, churches and whole dioceses are invited to make world mission a part of their DNA through ARDF. For instance, one unique way congregations engaging in a building campaign can give is to designate a portion of their building fund for a bricks and mortar project in the Global South. Churches even have the ability to pick out specific elements of a project they’d like to fund, such as roofing.
We urge you to prayerfully consider how you can support the work of ARDF as it strives to answer the call of Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Photo captions (top to bottom): Students in a newly built and furnished classroom; Students gather for the dedication of the school; The expanded school made it possible for the school’s enrollment to triple; Women selected by the Teacher Parents Association help cook meals for the kids. Credit: Jacques Birugue