History of this support: In 2009, Becky and Jeff Cech (Jim’s daughter and son-in-law) visited DR Congo and worked as volunteers at HEAL Africa, assisting them with non-profit literature and media production. Through their relationship with people at this medical aid organization, they learned about UCBC (Christian Bilingual University of Congo), an institution of higher education in DR Congo that is doing admirable work but currently underfunded and reliant on volunteers.
When they returned to the US, Jeff and Becky contacted UCBC and applied for positions as volunteer instructors in the areas of English and Communications, where they intend to serve for the 2012-2013 school year if they can raise enough support. They are calling this special effort “The Jitoe Project.” In Swahili Jitoe means “give of yourself.” It’s an expression often used in DR Congo to describe gifts that are not monetary, but instead reflect time, service, and talent. Becky and Jeff wish to give their time, service, and professional expertise in their early careers to fill staffing needs at UCBC.
How the donations will be used: According to a budget provided by the university (UCBC), support for two instructors will total approximately $25,000 for a year, including cost of living, travel, and books and resources for students. This means initial payment of $10,000 for one-time preparatory fees (travel, medical insurance, training, teaching materials) to be disbursed in the spring of 2012, with the remainder paid in equal monthly installments of $1,250 over the course of twelve months.
Who benefits & how: Your support benefits UCBC (Bilingual Christian University of Congo), a higher learning institution in Beni; your gifts of support:
- empower the Congolese to thoughtfully address the challenges around them. The university helps produce not only thoughtful but principled leadership to help break cycles of violence, combat corruption, and swell the ranks of problem-solvers.
- support equal opportunity. UCBC practices non-discriminatory policies in accepting students. Currently, there are 350 students enrolled at the campus, in a broad range of ages, and 44% of those enrolled are women; many women and mothers who would otherwise have limited opportunities to continue in higher education have found them at U.C.B.C.
- encourage civic responsibility. With its conscientious role in producing good, ethical leadership in DRC, the university actively promotes students’ involvement in local community service.
- increase the region’s security and stimulate its development. UCBC is positioned to stimulate development and security in a place particularly beset by political unrest. In the four years since the university was founded, Beni has become significantly safer and more stable, while the surrounding areas continue to be problematic, a strong indication that it plays positive role in stabilization.