Distributor, trainer and translator in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Eddie Ndungi is the representative of the STRATEGIES FOR HOPE Trust in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), based in the national capital, Kinshasa. He is responsible for distributing all French language editions of STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials in the DRC. A professional Bible translator, he represents an international Bible society, Biblica, in the DRC, and has translated passages of the Bible into several Congolese vernacular languages. He has also translated two CALLED TO CARE workbooks into French.
Eddie has also organised a successful CALLED TO CARE training workshop for church and community leaders, using workbooks 2, 3 and 7. He is also a skilled Stepping Stones facilitator. Working with two international agencies, he introduced Stepping Stones into the South Kivu region of eastern Congo, the Orientale region of north eastern Congo, and also into Kinshasa and the Bas Congo region of western Congo.
Eddie began distributing STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials in the DRC in July 2005:
“I was convinced that these materials would empower more people at grassroots level to address difficult issues such as HIV-related stigmatisation, shame, denial, inertia, misaction more effectively. Since then, I have been able to disseminate thousands of copies of these materials to hundreds of organisations in the DRC, which is one of the largest and most inaccessible countries on earth.
“People have found the materials very user-friendly, simple and reliable sources of information about HIV & AIDS and related issues, such as gender, sexual behaviour and relationship skills. And the fact that many of these materials incorporate a spiritual perspective makes them even more acceptable within the Congolese context.
“I would say that these materials have contributed to changes in attitudes and behaviour in relation to sex, gender, and people living with HIV and AIDS. This is borne out by first-hand testimonies. For instance, many people have said that watching the video What Can I Do? has completely changed their attitudes towards people living with HIV. They no longer dismiss people living with HIV as ‘sinners’, but go out of their way to treat them with respect and to support them in practical ways.
“I have made many good friends through this work, for example, with Arjanne Riestsema, who was the Cordaid representative in the DRC. She used to invite me to display and promote the SFH materials at meetings of local staff and their international partners.
“Pastor Pauline Mavitu of the Salvation Army, a very dynamic lady, was another person who helped me to make some good contacts. And through these and other contacts, I’ve become more tolerant and relaxed about working with people from different faith backgrounds.
“But our work is still hampered by the huge size and poor infrastructure of the DRC. I’m not able to disseminate the SFH materials all over the country because of the lack of roads and postal services. People living in living outside the main cities are extremely difficult to reach.
“Since many people in the DRC request copies the STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials, we need to replace our stocks with more copies. Local reprinting might seem like the answer, but the cost of printing books in the DRC is usually much higher than in the UK or the USA.
“There is a great need to extend our distribution and outreach activities, but we lack funding for that purpose. Funding opportunities for HIV & AIDS work in the DRC are very limited and seem to be becoming even more so.
“But people who do know about the STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials are very positive about them. We keep receiving requests for the materials and for CALLED TO CARE training workshops. I hope there is a bright future for these materials in the DRC – there certainly should be!”
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