In the words of Salomon Dianteza Dimpiokia

The journey began on the 23rd March 2013 when many people were at Kisantu for the inauguration of the CSCOM Nkandu III.

Children to be vaccinated at the opening of the Nakandu II Community Health Centre, DRC

Present were the political-administrative authorities, the health zone authorities, community representatives, the SD Congo team and the local press. That day everyone wanted to know who the members of this association were who worked with so much simplicity and calm determination. There was a festive atmosphere.

At the end of the ceremony, the previous administrator of the Kisantu health zone with whom we had worked on the project, approached the SD Congo team to talk about the health situation in his new place of work, the hospital belonging to a large sugar-cane company in Kwilu Ngongo.

He had found himself in situations where the hospital could not admit sick people who were not employed by the company. It weighed on his conscience because the city of Kwilu Ngongo did not have a good health infrastructure that would allow it to take these cases. He remembered the NGO that had built the Nkandu CSCOM. That’s how he tried to encourage the opinion leaders of the Kwilu Ngongo health zone to get in touch with SD Congo, whose sense of commitment he was happy to vouch for.

This is how a new partnership was set up in 2014: civil society, health zone authority, political-administrative authorities, SD Congo, and SDIA. Several exchanges and visits took place between all parties.

Viktor Boehm (SD Germany) addresses the public and Papy Kabondo (SD Congo) translates

Then SD Germany came on board and began a process of securing funding from BMZ, the German government agency for international development. The project was consolidated, and a site was found for the hospital. The network operated fluidly as a team. Communication flowed easily and every time there was a need for information, like, “How much do people pay when they give birth?” Or “How much does the minimum care packet cost?” – the people with access to that information did their best to provide it. The Administrator of the Kwilu Ngongo health zone (name?) seemed to have all the statistics at hand.

Everyone worked hard, especially the SDIA team and the SD Germany team whose rigorous work on the grant application to BMZ was a key to its success.

At the end of December, Virginia Thomas, SDIA’s Executive Director, announced to us that the BMZ had agreed to finance 75% of the Kwilu Ngongo CSCOM project, whose total value was $604,416 USD. That was when the Canadian family foundation that has generously funded previous health centres stepped in to pledge the remaining 25%, a token of its trust in the network’s accomplishments.

The members of the community bear witness to the seriousness of SD Congo and its partners including SDIA, SD Canada, SD Germany, SD France and others, because many organisations had been there before and made promises, laying a first stone but with no follow-up. Some had even defrauded the population, but the local people feel confident and their level of participation is high!