This is a guest post from Deputy Director, Emily Ballard
A little over a year ago if someone had mentioned the Democratic Republic of the Congo to me, it stirred up very little information in my mind. I knew about other happenings in Africa, such as the Rwandan genocide, but very little about the DRC. Then I started working with CLI to gain some experience; it ended up being much more than another bullet point on my resume. Through CLI’s board members and staff, as well as from the Congolese we worked with, I slowly began learning of all the atrocities the Congo has faced from the beginning. From Belgian colonization to Mobutu to the current violence by the M23 rebels, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state at constant war, internally and externally. CLI’s mission of empowering young Congolese to incite change in their country began to make more sense, and after working with these incredible young leaders I could not imagine a Congo without the empowerment CLI is giving. It has been a big year for CLI, and I wanted to take this last post before the New Year to appreciate how far we have come thanks to support from all of you!
- We were excited to add Benedicte Mudombu, out first female facilitator to the CLI team. The addition of a female facilitator works to further and increase the performance of the young women leaders in CLI
- We provided our take on Kony 2012, and how the complexities go much deeper than the surface violence
- We created partnerships to extend our reach to more students in the Congo, including IED Congo in Baraka
- We had another great addition of CLI Program Director Jason who traveled to Kinshasa to work with facilitators and young leaders during the Leadership Accelerator
- We have had over 100 students regularly attending CLI’s leadership meetings
- We have shared inspiring stories of CLI’s young leaders such as Serge, Joelle and Esther
- We began our #empowercongo campaign to get the real message of what CLI does out to everyone
2013 is bringing some very exciting things you will all know about soon…we look forward to bringing you on the journey as we learn and grow, and create change in the Congo.