Congo_-_UPCDisciplesVisit(Aug2015).jpgCapacity-building at the Congo Protestant University continues in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Kinshasa.  With 10 million people, there is never a dull moment!  And while final exams are ongoing at the University, there are also happy graduates. The next school year is already around the corner with classes beginning in the middle of October.

I was indeed fortunate to have Global Ministries’ newly appointed Executive, Africa Office, Rev. Marco Cable drop in recently to experience the excitement and to see the growth that is taking place at the Congo Protestant University.  

In fact, this has been a summer full of visitors. In May, I was able to spend time with David Owen, Resource Development for Global Ministries, and his team as they passed through Kinshasa on their way to Mbandaka. Then in July, I met up with Paul Turner, Project Consultant for Global Ministries before he traveled up to Mbandaka where he will be serving for four years. I was thrilled to be able to present such an amazing Congolese university to all of these representatives of Global Ministries – Disciples of Christ was one of the University’s founding denominations.  

The work of the Development Commission, established last year to determine the needs of the University, Schools, professors and students, continues to make progress. We have rolled up our sleeves and are elbow deep in reviewing and updating the Strategic Plan in order to effectively formalize and prioritize the initiatives identified as important for the University’s growth. Once the priorities are established, an operational guideline will be created to execute and achieve the initiatives that will lead to further growth. Let’s keep these initiatives moving forward! 

We are also close to identifying a qualified candidate who will be integrated into the University’s Development Department. Naturally the position requires someone who is full of passion and eager to learn. I am looking forward to being a mentor to the new employee. 

In addition, one of the projects developed for the new Medical School building is progressing.  With an increase in collaboration with a variety of educational institutions worldwide that have an emphasis on research, the development and construction of a medical laboratory for scientific research as well as for teaching purposes has taken on new importance. By thinking like an architect, a scientist, a physician and a professor, I have assisted in creating a vision for a research-certified laboratory for which funding has started to arrive. As an example, the malaria research project involving both the Congo Protestant University and Johns Hopkins University is on track to begin the field work portion in the fall. Ideally, the University would have a laboratory that could accommodate and analyze the material and specimens gathered by the researchers.

In connection with the Business and Law Schools, we are very excited about a management and leadership training program that is being developed for students in their final year. In partnership with the University, Bralima – the largest company in the Democratic Republic of Congo employing thousands of people – is relaunching its recruiting program in the university environment.  By focusing on the students who will soon be looking to enter the work force, this training program will reinforce management and leadership skills before taking on qualified candidates as interns for an intensive 18-month training course.

The Congo Protestant University is working to build a prosperous Congo.  It is amazing to be a part of that progress!

Linda James serves as a short-term volunteer with the Protestant University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She assists with their capacity building program. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.