Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island

by Idjwi Island Education Fund
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island
Improve Education for 400 Children on Idjwi Island

While we are happy to report that no cases of Coronavirus have been found on Idjwi Island, all schools, including EP Buhumba, are closed until the fall as directed by the Congolese government.  The Idjwi Island Education Fund is pleased to be able to continue to support the school and the children during this crisis.

Last summer, we were excited to complete a major project to bring fresh water to the school for drinking and hand washing.  As we know, hand hygiene is essential to combat the spread of disease and to protect the health of our children; we are continuing to send the necessary soap to the water station.  In addition, we want to be certain the children are receiving proper nutrition during this crisis and we are distributing food such as beans, biscuits, rice, salt, etc.

In order to support at home learning for the children, the teachers of EP Buhumba have been asked to prepare and submit radio lessons for broadcast on the local radio station.  The teachers plan to have lessons ready by summer.  We will be fundraising not only to pay teachers, but also for radio airtime.

As soon as we can safely bring workers to Idjwi Island, we plan to begin construction on a new building to serve as the administration building and the center for the health program.  We will also continue work with our global medical team to conduct annual testing for malaria and deworming.

We appreciate the support of our many generous donors who continue to improve the lives of over 400 primary school children on Idjwi Island.

Hand washing station at school
Hand washing station at school
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This is an exciting time on Idjwi Island!  This summer, the Idjwi Island Education Fund completed a major project to bring fresh water to the school for drinking and hand washing. At the beginning of school this fall, our medical team -- consisting of a global health pediatrician, local medical student, and local support staff -- spent several days at the school conducting annual testing, malaria detection and treatment, and deworming.  While we are excited with these developments at the school, there is more work to be done.

In 2020, we plan to complete the construction of a new building at the school to serve as the administration building and the home of the health program.  In addition to this capital project, we are working to develop a regular health program with a local medical team to address the substantial needs of the children.

More than 400 primary school kids on Idjwi Island count on our organization for these programs.

We greatly appreciate the support of our many generous donors.  Please consider making a donation on Giving Tuesday, December 3, when donations will be matched through Global Giving.

Medical tests in the community
Medical tests in the community
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We have more exciting news this summer from EP Buhumba on Idjwi Island!  For the first time ever, our more than 400 students have running water at school to drink and wash their hands!  As the school year begins, this new resource at the school should pay immediate dividends with improved hygiene and a reduction in illness. 

Last month, members of our leadership team and local representatives oversaw a three week construction project that brought water nearly two kilometers from a nearby well to the primary school.  A total of 17 workers, including 8 from idjwi Island, completed the project.  As the sinks were installed between the classroom building and the latrines, the students will have a convenient place to wash hands after they take a bathroom break.

Improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a critical element in preventing neglected tropical diseases such as diarrheal illness and schistosomiasis. For instance, studies have shown that improved sanitation can reduce schistosomiasis by as much as 75%. The water supply is one part of a program to improve health, hygiene, and learning at the school. This month, our medical team will be making another visit to the school to test and treat children, and will provide further instruction on hygiene and disease prevention.

Girl Scout Troop 4065 of Washington DC provided substantial support toward making this water project possible. The Idjwi Island Education Fund is truly grateful for community partnerships such as these who continue to make our programs possible. 

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Jacques with medical team
Jacques with medical team

Meet Jacques. Jacques is an invaluable member of our team at the Idjwi Island Education Fund. Born on Idjwi Island into a family of eight children, Jacques was successful in school and completed an associate's degree in nutrition and dietetics from the Institut Superieur des Techniques Medicales de Bukavu.  Bukavu is on the mainland, south of Idjwi Island and is the largest city close to Idjwi. Since 2017, Jacques has been working with us to provide local support during the medical missions to the school. He has provided tremendous assistance to the medical team, helped with procurement, translations and local logistics. Between medical missions, Jacques visits the school, meets with students and faculty, and provides our team with regular updates on developments at the school and the needs of the children. Jacques is quick to contact our team when our school children have immediate health needs. This contact has allowed us to mobilize our team to provide time sensitive support. 

Jacques also works on special projects. In the last few months, he has helped to identify contractors who might be able to bring well water to the school, and works with our team here and advisors there to develop a possible plan of action. Clean, running water would be a tremendous local resource for our kids and the school, not only will it provide water for drinking and cooking, but the opportunity to wash hands and improve hygiene will help to prevent illness across the community.

Jacques and his wife have two boys and two girls. Their older children are in primary school.

The regular support from our donors allows us to keep Jacques on staff and to provide these invaluable programs for the students.  We look forward to providing you with updates from Jacques during 2019!

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Dr. Sparrow and team
Dr. Sparrow and team

This month 445 elementary school students are excited to be returning to school or starting school in Buhumba Village on Idjwi Island. There will be 252 boys and 193 girls in the six grades at the primary school. 

It has been an exciting summer.  In early August, our medical team returned to the school to examine and treat students. There is little medical infrastructure on the island, and many of the children only see doctors when they come to school.  Our team consisted of a global health pediatrician and research specialist who were supported by a local nutritionist and other local representatives. The families lined up at the school to see the doctor.  Our team spent a week at the school examining children -- more than 100 in total -- and treated students for intestinal parasites, malaria, and other conditions.  Although much more is needed, our team was pleased to learn that our repeat visits and treatments have resulted in a noticeable improvement in the health among the students. 

Clean water is also critical for the students' health and hygiene, and clean water is a scarce resource on Idjwi Island.  The school has obtained access to water at a new well in a nearby village.  We are researching methods for bringing water and installing plumbing at the school.  In the meantime, the school is setting up temporary water stations outside of each classroom every day.  

The students, teachers and community are thrilled about this third year in their new school building.  We continue to have big plans, and appreciate the support of everyone who is helping to improve education for the growing student body.  

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Organization Information

Idjwi Island Education Fund

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Project Leader:
David Folds
Washington, DC United States
$82,511 raised of $125,000 goal
557 donations
$42,489 to go
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