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: 2016

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.
  • 250 people learned about child rights and protection issues, helping ensure children's safety and participation.
  • 2 victims of abuse received counselling and resources to help them recover.
  • 5 community groups are engaging with local authorities to advance their rights and create positive changes for children.
  • 25 spiritual leaders partnered with World Vision Canada to bring positive changes in the lives of children and families.
  • 2 schools were upgraded to provide a better learning environment for students.
  • 42 teachers and volunteers learned child-friendly teaching methods to improve the quality of education for children.
  • 550 parents and caregivers learned about the importance of education and how to support their child's learning.
  • 330 children and youth are improving their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities like clubs and camps.
  • 11 clubs are in place for children and youth to improve their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities.
  • 480 parents and caregivers learned about common childhood illnesses and how to protect their children's health.
  • 250 parents and caregivers learned about proper feeding practices and how to keep their children well nourished.
  • 54 malnourished children were enrolled in nutritional programs and monitored to ensure they are growing healthy.
  • 60 health workers and volunteers were trained to provide quality health services, especially for women and children.
  • 250 women were counselled on how to properly care for themselves and their babies during and after pregnancy.
  • 1 health centre was improved to better care for children and families.
  • 7 water sources are providing access to safe water and protecting children and families against waterborne diseases.
  • 200 latrines in homes, schools or the community are providing improved access to sanitation for children and families.
  • 580 children and adults learned about the importance of water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene to stay healthy.
  • 11 savings groups are helping children and adults save money and access loans to grow businesses or cover basic expenses.
  • 236 children and adults are members of savings groups, helping families meet their financial needs and access small loans.
  • 21 youth were equipped to enter the job market through apprenticeships, vocational training or career counselling.
  • 1 community group is teaching children and families to prevent disasters and protect themselves in times of crisis.

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.