Menkao's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The Menkao community is located in a peri-urban area on the periphery of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite its proximity to the city, Menkao has a rural look and feel. The damp tropical climate has two seasons, with heavy rains in April, November, and December. In the rainy season, the average temperature is 28.5°C. In the dry season, it is 24.1°C.

Access to clean drinking water is severely limited. There are few springs, so households use rainwater and water from rivers and indigenous wells. There is one improved well but it does not meet community needs. Vegetation is a steppe savannah with scattered fruit and palm trees. Most families practice subsistence agriculture, but average household income is just $1 per day, which severely limits parents' ability to provide properly for their children. Homes are simple, and often made of mud bricks and thatched roofs.
Child Protection
  • 150 young people are participating in community decisions and advocating for the protection and wellbeing of children
  • 2 children survivors of abuse received support to help them cope with trauma and recover
  • 397 children received birth certificates, ensuring their access to basic rights and services like health and schooling
  • 4 child parliaments are empowering young people to advocate for their rights and participate in community decisions
  • 693 community members learned about child rights and protection issues to help ensure children's safety and participation
  • 1,387 people received mosquito nets, protecting them against diseases such as dengue, malaria and Zika
  • 213 parents learned about common childhood illnesses and how to protect their children's health
  • 528 parents learned about proper feeding practices and how to keep their children well nourished
  • 911 people learned about sexual and reproductive health, including how to prevent and manage HIV and STIs
  • 95 health workers were trained to provide quality health services, especially for women and children
  • 33 young people are part of savings groups, helping them save money and learn about personal finance
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • 1,762 people learned about the importance of water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene to stay healthy
  • 26 new water sources are providing access to safe water, protecting children against waterborne diseases
  • 750 people have safe water for drinking and cooking thanks to improved water sources
*Results reported for projects in this country from October 2018 to September 2019

Explore Menkao

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in Menkao

Children face many obstacles that keep them from getting the most from their education, including a shortage of qualified teachers. The few teachers who do work in Menkao earn less than $10 a month, and a lack of government funding means teachers often do not get paid at all, which causes low motivation and morale.

There are few schools, and they lack desks, teaching aids, toilets, and clean water. The lack of schools also leads to severe overcrowding, with the same school being used for primary students in the morning and secondary students in the afternoon. Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school, and this leads to high dropout rates, and early marriage, especially for girls.

Health Care
There aren't enough health facilities in Menkao to provide adequate care to the community. The closest hospital is 70 km away, and people sometimes never make it there because they cannot afford the travel costs. Existing health facilities lack updated equipment and a sufficient supply of pharmaceutical products. Health workers lack proper training and are unmotivated because salaries are low. These factors severely limit parents ability to care properly for their children.

Few families in Menkao have more than a tiny piece of land on which to cultivate crops, yet most households rely on rudimentary agriculture. This makes it very difficult to grow enough food and earn enough of a living to provide for their basic needs. Manioc, maize, and groundnuts are common crops, but yields are poor. This is due to less effective traditional farming techniques, poor farming tools and inputs, and a lack of fertile land. A lack of integration between animal husbandry, fruit growing, and fish farming compounds the challenge, making it increasingly difficult for parents to meet the nutritional needs of their children.

Limited access to information about HIV and AIDS means many people do not know how to protect themselves from the disease. Myths abound, and poor management of the disease means many people do not get the care they so desperately need. Often, children and other community members do not receive appropriate HIV-prevention education, which leaves them vulnerable to engaging in high-risk behaviours.

There is no screening centre in Menkao, and no system in place to identify and care for people living with HIV or AIDS. Further increasing the risk of HIV transmission is the fact that the Menkao area is located close to a main national highway. Many travelers engage in risky sexual activity, including prostitution, which in turn results in high infection rates.

Water and Sanitation
Only 10% of households in the Menkao community have access to safe water, which makes children and families susceptible to waterborne diseases. Women and girls also have to walk long distances to collect water. For those who are enrolled in school, this often makes them late for class, which in turn negatively affects their education.
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Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Menkao,  is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.