Grants have gone to several ministries in Africa and Haiti from two funds of the Church of the Brethren, the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) and the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). The four grants total $49,330.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed an EDF allocation of $23,000 for response to major flooding following three days of rain in the far western edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the poor neighborhoods of the city of Uvira more than 980 homes were destroyed, leaving families without most of their belongings, access to drinking water, stored food, clothing, and shelter. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (Shalom Ministry), is a ministry of the “Congolese Church of the Brethren,” which while in relationship with Global Mission and Service staff is not yet recognized as an official Church of the Brethren body. The money will provide emergency food, household supplies, and tools to 300 of the most vulnerable households, including 1,000 children, 300 infants, and 800 women. It also will support construction of shelters for two widows.
A GFCF additional allocation of $10,000 supports agriculture work in the DRC. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), is a ministry of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the Congo). The grant will fund tools, agricultural inputs, training in agricultural techniques, and monitoring activities as part of SHAMIRED’s continued work among the Twa people. The Twa are historically a hunter-gatherer society that was evicted from traditional lands in recent decades and brought into conflict, often violent conflict, with its farming neighbors. The new grant request will expand the work to include new Twa families in the cultivation of cassava and bananas/plantains. Twa families that have received training in past years would begin a new vegetable raising initiative, together with Congolese Brethren families who are in need. Previous allocations to this project include: December 2011 $2,500; March 2013 $5,000; March 2014 $5,000.
A GFCF allocation of $10,000 is supporting agriculture work in Rwanda among the Twa (Batwa) people. The project is being administered by ETOMR (Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda), a ministry of the Evangelical Friends Church of Rwanda. Funds for agricultural inputs and land rental will be used for the expansion of the project to include 60 new families in both an existing potato growing effort and a new maize (corn) growing initiative. A major benefit of the project beyond the potatoes grown for consumption comes from the sale of potatoes to buy annual health insurance for participating families. Previous GFCF grants to this organization in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 totaled $14,026. Since 2011, Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren also has been supporting this project.
A GFCF allocation of $4,900 supports the attendance of six staff members of the Rural Development Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) at an agricultural development forum in Accra, Ghana. Participants will represent EYN’s Agriculture and Integrated Community-Based Development Programs. The conference, organized by the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), will be geared toward “enabling networking related to alleviating hunger and poverty by those persons serving Africa’s poor.” Funds will cover the travel and lodging costs of these six participants.
A GFCF allocation of $1,430 pays for an engineering study in Acajou, Haiti. This study is for a combination drinking water and irrigation project jointly undertaken by the agricultural staff of Eglise des Freres (Church of the Brethren in Haiti) and the Haiti Medical Project’s community development staff. Future expenses related to the drinking water portion of this project will be supported through the Haiti Medical Project.