Congo Peace Project!

Fighting for women's health and education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

Photo of Asukulu Songolo
1 4

Written by

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

March 28, 2003

Help us stay in touch!

(503)-621-4216 9627 N.Dwight Avenue Portland, Oregon 97203

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Instagram- @congopeaceproject

Date You Started Your Project Started

August 10, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo) has been involved in ethnic and tribal conflict for over 30 years. As a result of political corruption and foreign meddling, all at the expense of the Congolese people. Rape has been used as a weapon of war targetting young women. The conflict leaves youth traumatized and displaced from schools. Our project's goal is to advocate for women's health and education for all Congolese women and youth.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Congo Peace Project (The Congo PP) will work to sponsor schools and hospitals in the Congo’s most marginalized communities. We will start our operations in Bukavu, one of the most densely populated cities in the Congo. There we will sponsor one school and one hospital, with supplies for menstrual hygiene and educational advancement. To collect these supplies we will partner with local churches, businesses, and organizations in Portland to collect pads, tampons, notebooks, scissors, and pencils. In exchange for providing resources to women and youth of the Congo. The project will serve as an educational tool for those who participate in helping collect and pack the supplies to be sent off to the Congo. We will host work parties every month, to discuss why the project is so important for the Congolese people, how every one of the volunteers can be better involved as global citizens, and pack the supplies to be sent to the Congo. From there we will ship the supplies to both the school and hospital we support in the Congo. Our project will support the women and youth in these areas, by breaking barriers so that they are equipped to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

My parents left as soon as they heard the bullets! During a period of no gunfire or indications of war, my parents lived a content quiet life among family and friends in the Congo. Once the gunfire began again, my parents knew that if they stayed they would not survive. So my parents left the Congo for Zambia in 1998. I was later born in Zambia alongside my twin in 2003- we were only one when our family of five immigrated across the Atlantic Ocean to America in search of a better life. Although I have never set foot in Congo; that is where I call home. My family’s story calls me to act now more than ever, to fight for the Congolese people. I believe that it is on me and on all of us to no longer turn a blind eye towards the Congo, but rather lend a listening ear and give a helping hand.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Someone who wants to work with our organization would reach out to us and let us know of their interest in helping our organization. If they want to be a corporate partner then we’ll ask for them to place a collection box within a frequented spot in their establishment, involving people and encouraging them to donate. If they want to donate as an individual, we will accept a donation from them and store them for our work party. Our work parties will be hosted every month where we collect all the donations received from the community, encouraging volunteers to act as global citizens by packing the donated supplies, and while treating them to African music and food.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The Congo PP is organizing around an issue that is so often nuanced,though our movement has the ability to bring the voices of the Congolese people to the forefront. When you think of humanitarian crises, most turn a blind eye towards the Congo, the history of greed and corruption, can and will be dismantled by youth (as we’ve seen throughout history) to create futures of peace and stability for the Congolese people. The time for change is now! We are working beyond borders, transcending colonialism and imperialism while fighting patriarchy and tribalism, by stepping up and going global.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

I have been in close contact with my facilitators on the ground in Congo. They have communicated to me the need for these supplies and the urgency. Within the Congo, products for menstrual hygiene are taxed above what a majority of the population make a day. This leads many women to turn towards unsanitary and unhealthy forms of dealing with their menstrual cycle. Youth face a drastic educational disparity, especially within some of the country’s more densely populated cities such as Bukavu, where many people are displaced by the ongoing ethnic and tribal wars. Our facilitators have emphasized the importance of our project and the supplies that we provide them with. We will know we are making a difference when we are able to fully support the female population in the hospital we sponsor and when we can meet the educational needs of the school we sponsor.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The Congo PP hopes to launch a campaign in partnership with the youth and women that we serve in the Congo, to create an international campaign advocating for justice and awareness of the difficulties facing the Congolese people. Second, we hope to grow and support three schools and three hospitals within a year of operation. Lastly, we hope to host a solidarity dinner in Portland to fundraise and bring together advocates for the health and education of the Congolese people on the “Independence Day” of the country, recognizing that the nation is not and will not be truly independent until 1) basic education is provided to every Congolese person, 2) rape is no longer used as a weapon of war and 3) conflict in the Congo comes to an end.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $100-$1k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Nadya Okamoto, who is a hero of mine won the challenge, her movement and organization motivate me.

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 33.3%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 66.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Karina
Team

Hi Asukulu!
I am also very passionate about women's health and menstrual hygiene poverty within the global community. I am currently planning on bringing my project to Nigeria and India and would love to collaborate with you on bringing it to Congo. I think beyond providing menstrual products, it would be beneficial to create small factories to manufacture pads and menstrual cups to offer supplies, but also provide women a means of financial independence. My email is tobykarina@gmail.com, so if you are interested, please feel free to reach out!