Sustainable development takes time, it’s not about quick fixes, but if you’re prepared to work with people, not for them, listen, respect and commit to the long term, it’s worth it.
Let me take you back to 2005 and the first time I visited the remote village of Gitigarawa on the Plateau in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo. I had travelled there to assess the needs and priorities of children and communities from this war-affected, forgotten region, and to make recommendations to Children in Crisis’ Board of Trustees as to whether we should begin a new programme in this region.
The winding journey up the mountain to Gitigarawa was tense, with frequent road blocks manned by heavily armed soldiers. At every road block, people were being manhandled; their agricultural produce taken from them as a form of ‘tax’ by the local soldiers. In the eyes of the women, I could see how ground-down they were – powerless in the face of men with guns.