The city of Kalima is located 100 km. from Kindu, the capital of Maniema Province in DR Congo. The city, that is 1200-1600 meters above sea level, is situated in a mining area. The population numbers about 136,000. In common with the rest of DR Congo the residents of Kalima and the surrounding villages have suffered terribly due to the difficult economic and social problems caused by the recent war.
Before the 1996 war of liberation led by Laurent Désiré Kabila, the city of Kalima was home to a Belgian mining company " SOMINKI " ( Mining and Industrial Company Kivu ), which extracted various minerals including coltan, gold, and cassiterite. The Company which had taken an actively benevolent interest in the welfare of its 3000 employees went bankrupt in 1996. After that the plant was taken over by the State-owned enterprise, Kivu Gold Corporation (Sakima). Since then, although Sakima maintained SOMINKI's infrastructure, it did not take care of the town's, which has deteriorated.
The NGO, Peasant Solidarity For Sustainable Development, was established in 2006 by one of the town's residents Etienne Katchelewa together with some of his fellow students while they were studying agriculture at university.
Their organisation aims to combat poverty and to promote sustainable agricultural and economic development in Kalima and the surrounding area. In 2006 there were 11 and by 2012 there were 20 members of this cooperative NGO.
The organisation's internal working language is Esperanto, which Etienne Katchelewa learnt at Solidareco Bona Volo in the town of Goma.
Peasant Solidarity For Sustainable Development has promoted the following projects:
A fish farming project that has provided enough profit to maintain and improve 4 of the 36 tanks and to buy a deep-freezer. They would like to improve the other tanks by strengthening the dykes. By raising and marketing even more fish they could afford to diversify the industry: i.e. fish preparation and conservation projects.
By collaborating with the villagers they have succeeded in improving crop cultivation and animal husbandry.
Peasant Solidarity promotes environmental consciousness, gives talks about the importance of water purification and runs courses about new methods of crop-cultivation and breeding of livestock.
Peasant Solidarity For Sustainable Development's next project.
At present only 2% of Kalima's residents have access to clean water; the remaining 98%, who have to collect their water from polluted lakes, ponds and rivers are prone to diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Peasant Solidarity is hoping to raise funds to provide access to clean drinking water for everybody in Kalima and the surrounding areas.
Supply and water sustainability in Kalima, DR Congo.
The City of Kalima is located 100km from Kindu , the capital of Maniema province . According to the report of the Independent National Commission of DR Congo (CENI) the population is estimated to be about 136,000 people. The city, that is 1200-1600 meters over sea level, is a mining area.
Before the 1996 war of liberation led by Laurent Désiré Kabila, the city of Kalima was home to a Belgian mining company " SOMINKI " ( Mining and Industrial Company Kivu ), which extracted various minerals: coltan , gold, cassiterite, etc. Besides its mining activities , the Company took an active interest in securing the welfare of its workforce of at least 3000 employees.
II . Project Overview and Description.
In the urban district of Kalima and the surrounding areas the consumption of untreated water by 98% of the population causes waterborne diseases.
At present only one part of the city has access to pumped water and this is the prerogative of SAKIMA , the company that took over from SOMINKI in 1996. The residents that used to benefit from the SOMINKI water pumps, are now condemned to drink untreated water from wells, springs and rivers. Because of this, waterborne diseases, such as typhoid, cholera , diarrhea and dysentery are endemic. 35% of infant mortalities are caused by the lack of a clean water supply.
There is also a gender issue. According to local tradition young girls get up early every morning to collect water for their families. In the dry season they have to get up even earlier and go even farther before they can find it. Then they have to lug it back home. Not only are these girls overworked, they are also in danger, because during this daily search for water they risk being raped by predatory men. It is difficult to say how often this happens because this is a taboo subject and the girls prefer to suffer in silence. They have been 'shamed' and they fear that their families will shun them. If the rape results in a pregnancy nobody is there to look after them or their babies. Three girls who were raped on their way to or from the river at some time in 2013 did however confide in a member or members of Peasant Solidarity.
History of the Kalima water supply.
REGIDESO which has a monopoly of drinking water in DR Congo does not exist in Kalima and its surroundings.
In 1993, a company Safricas tried to provide water to Kalima, but its equipment was looted during the political crisis that shook Zaire / DRC during the Mobutu era. So since SOMINKI's bankruptcy and the 1993 looting Kalima's water supplies have been polluted. Although a few pumping stations have been built since they are inadequate for all Kalima's residents. Peasant Solidarity built the last one for Kalima hospital and installed two taps for the general benefit of the public.
Peasant Solidarity's plan is in accordance with United Nations Department of Economic and social Affairs' International Decade for Action 'Water For Life' 2005-2015, whose aim is to provide access to safe drinking water for everybody. "Water For life'' means saving lives and building a safe environment for the well-being of all individuals and communities.
This project therefore seeks to provide access to safe drinking water for everybody in Kalima by constructing public fountains and if possible by giving at least some household taps in their own homes.
The total cost is estimated to be between 247,047 and 861,906 euros. This enormous discrepancy is due to the fact that they have proposed two schemes. The first that would provide safe drinking water for only part of the town and the second that would solve the problem for everybody.
Through collaboration with Mr. Manfred Westermayer The secretary of Asocio de Verduloj Esperantistaj (International Esperantist Enviromental Association) they received 3000 euros from the German company Wasserkraft Volk AG . They used this money to provide safe drinking water for the Kalima hospital. This company donates 5% of its annual profits to vital schemes like this one.
Peasant Solidarity For Sustainable Development has sent Wasserkraft Volk AG a further application for 5000 euros. They expect to hear from them in August 2014.
The total cost of either scheme may seem astronomical, but it is attainable. So, all contributions great and small are welcome.
In a recent letter to a potential benefactor, Abbe Benjamin Usume, Kalima's Parish priest recommends supporting PIEADC's water project.
He confirms that ever since Sominki went bankrupt Kalima citizens have been deprived of clean drinking water. They have no other option than consuming untreated water from springs and rivers.
Daily water collection takes three hours as the water sources are a long way from the town.
Furthermore he confirms that PIEADC have already successfully made use of a donation to provide the local hospital with pumped clean water. He adds that everybody can bear witness to this achievement.
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