Make College an Option for 70 Congo (DRC) Students

by Kokolopori-Falls Church Sister City Partnership
Photo (c) Michael Werner
Photo (c) Michael Werner

This July, we delivered 4 laptop computers and a BGAN satellite Internet terminal to Djolu Technical College.  The equipment was provided by the Kokolopori-Falls Church Sister City Partnership and was funded in part through a grant to KFCSCP from the Internet Society. 

When we presented the computers to the college faculty and students, students spontaneously erupted into song and celebration!  The opportunity to access the web for research and communicate by email opens up a world of possibilities for students in Djolu, who are otherwise very isolated from the outside world.  We also brought in an excellent IT technician from Kisangani, Mr. Bienvenu Kazadi, who has done a fantastic job training everyone on how to use and maintain the new equipment.

Even small donations will go far to help Djolu students have uninterrupted internet access.   Internet use on the BGAN is charged by the megabyte of data.  Fortunately, the college’s Internet account can be refilled from the United States. 

Look for more news about Djolu Technical College soon!

Prof. Didier Mbenga teaches agroforestry workshop
Prof. Didier Mbenga teaches agroforestry workshop

In February, Djolu Technical College received a $5,000 grant channeled by the Food for All Foundation via the Kokolopori-Falls Church Sister City Partnership to Vie Sauvage. This grant, managed and implemented by Djolu Technical College faculty, is intended to increase food security in Kokolopori by providing training and technical assistance, simple farming tools and improved seed stocks to local farmers.

In the first term of the project implementation, 12 farmers’ co-operatives have received training in agroforestry, oriented towards the planting of fruiting trees in association with seasonal cultivations such as cereals, cassava and bananas in the same field.

Before the training, farmers used to apply slash and burn itinerant farming technique, cutting all trees that were found on the field. This method resulted to long delays for forest regeneration, destruction of potential revenue from the sustainable exploitation of non-timber forest products, release of carbon to the air, loss of energy from the burned biomass and finally, destruction and quick exhaustion of soils. Co-operatives also received farming tools to open their agro forestry fields, especially their fruiting tree nurseries.

The next step in June is the cultivation of 5000 fruiting trees in five tree nurseries managed by 5 Kokolopori and Nsema leading co-operatives that are Sapro, Mapamboli, Tomeka, Milona and APRID. If tree growth in the nurseries is successfully achieved, each village’s co-operative will receive and plant in their agroforestry fields, at least 100 trees bearing edible fruits. Edible fruits are good supplementation food to combat malnutrition.

Trees that gives fruits rich in proteins and vitamins will be favored, such as Persia americana (avocado tree), Mangifera indica (mango tree), Dacryodes edulis (safoutier/prunier), etc, planted in association in the same fields with cereals, cassava, banana, pineapple and seasonal vegetables.

II. List of participating co-operatives

1. ONG Vie Sauvage 2. Association de Développement de Moma (ADEMO) 3. Association Bolingo 4. Association de développement de Yetee (ADY) 5. Association de développement internationale d’une famille rurale (ADIFR) 6. Association des jeunes de Yongondju (AJY) 7. Association des jeunes pour le développement de bolamba (AJEDEBO) 8. Association des jeunes de Lindjifombo (AJELI) 9. Association des jeunes de Yofenya (AJF) 10. Association des jeunes de Yasalankose 11. Association de développement de Lindjangele (ADELI) 12. Agriculture priorité pour le developpement (APRID)

III. Content of the training

Module I: TRADITIONAL SYSTEMS OF FARMING 1. Chapter 1 : Itinerant slash and burn farming • Itinerant agriculture • Rainforest semi-intensive farming systems • Rainforest intensive farming systems • Irrigated and inundated farming systems • Mixed systems: a) Seasonal cultivations mixed with durable herbaceous vegetation covered the soil. b) Gardening. c) Seasonal cultivations mixed with durable trees • Intensification of farming through the shortening of the fallows period 2. Chapter 2 : Slash and burn farming and forest regeneration • Advantages of the slash and burn technique (Quick mineralization that increase production in the short term, easy clearing and groundwork • Disadvantage of the slash and burn technique (Quick exhaustion of soils. • Importance of leaving fallows to regenerate (reforestation, restitution of the organic materials to the soils, recycling of minerals that went deep in the ground thanks to tree roots. 3. Chapter 3 : Steps to create a field through slash and burn technique • Clearing and groundwork • Burning • Leaving fallows to regrow forest (Reforestation if the fallow periods are long, savanna growth/development if the fallow periods are too short. • Harvesting in the neighboring forest

MODULE II: FOREST AND FORESTRY 4. Chapter 4: Definition of forest and forestry (Forestry = management and exploitation of forest) • Concept definitions • Goal of agro forestry (To optimize the production per surface unit while respecting the principle of sustainable yield. 5. Chapter 5: Types of forestry • Community forestry • Urban forestry • Social forestry 6. Chapter 6: Importance of the forestry • Protection role (soils, protection against winds) • Regulation role (absorption, conservation of reserves, liberation of nutrients progressively) • Production role (Extraction of energy from the biomass). 7. Chapter 7: Agro forestry farming systems • Cultivations and livestock rearing in forest plantations • Trees and livestock rearing in spaces reserved to cultivations • Trees juxtaposed to the agro pastoral space 8. Chapter 8: Effects of ecological interactions in agro forestry 9. Chapter 9: Agro forestry and sustainable development 10. Chapter 10: Use of plants of the Fabaceae family in agroforestry • For timber • For service wood • For energy • For environmental protection • For animal foraging • For extracted products


11. Chapter 11 : Generative multiplication or multiplication by seeds • Advantages: Allow a massive production, doesn’t require a special training or special technical skills. • Disadvantages: Strong dependence to seeds’ availability, some seeds lose their germinating power, doesn’t allow the identical replication of features of the mother plant. 12. Chapter 12: vegetative multiplication • Multiplication by cuttings • How to get cuttings • How to prepare cuttings • How to plant cuttings • How to main cuttings in a propagator • How to assess the quality of cuttings and plant them in a pot • Layering • How to place the layers • How to harvest the layers • How to plant layers in a pot • How to conduct layers in a tree nursery • How to transplant layers in a field • Transplanting • How to prepare the ‘porte-greffon’ • How to prepare the transplant • How to maintain transplants


13. Chapter 13: Choice of the site 14. Chapter 14: Preparation of the field zone 15. Chapter 15: Spotting and digging plan 16. Chapter 16: Staking of plants 17. Chapter 17: Planting trees 18. Chapter 18: Monitoring et maintenance of agro forestry trees 19. Chapter 19: Harvesting 20. Chaptern20: transformation and conservation of harvested products


21. Chapter 21: Survey questionnaire on community ethnobotany. • Medicinal plants • Food plants • Plants for larvas

IV. Duration of the training workshop

The workshop expanded during 5 days from Monday 15 to Friday 19. March 20, 2010 was the closing ceremony, in the presence of the zone commissioner.

V. Products of the training workshop

1. Structuring and development of peasant organizations The first result of the training workshop was the grouping of the 12 co-operatives that attended the training workshop into five pools, under the leadership of a core co-operative with tangible assets and potential to serve as anchor site from which the agro forestry program will expand.

These co-operative were: TOMEKA leading all farming organizations of Iyondje groupement, SAPRO leading all farming organizations of Lindja 2 groupement, MAPAMBOLI leading all farming organizations of Pombi groupement, MILONA leading all farming organizations of Lindja 1 groupement and APRID leading all farming organizations of Nsema groupement.

2. Creation of 5 resource centers or agro forestry tree nurseries Five pilot tree nurseries have been prepared and will be developed by the 5 identified core co-operatives. The objective is to produce 1000 agro forestry trees in each pilot center to be distributed to members of each pool for dissemination in their own co-operative fields. The species selected are: avocado tree (Persia Americana), mango tree (Mangifera indica), Spondias cythera tree, Syzigium cummini tree, African plum tree (Safoutier), palm tree and Citrus spp trees. These trees will be planted in mixed fields with cereals, bananas and cassava, the staple food of the milieu.

3. Distribution of simple farming tools to co-operative members

150 machetes and 15 sharpeners have been distributed to trainees to help them open their fields and get prepared for the agro-forestry program.

4. Gathering indigenous knowledge for use in the agro forestry program

We undertook a survey aiming the collection of plant list that the community uses for medical purpose, food or larva/caterpillar harvesting. This information is important since we want to save these trees in agro forestry plantations.

VI. Conclusion In the next phase in June, it is planned a practical training in planting trees in the fields and Djolu Technical College faculty and student-assistants will visit nurseries and plantations to provide technical assistance to farmers.

ISDR student speak at agroforestry workshop
ISDR student speak at agroforestry workshop
ISDR student speak at agroforestry workshop
ISDR student speak at agroforestry workshop
Djolu Technical College Class with Australian Visitor, Oct. 2009
Djolu Technical College Class with Australian Visitor, Oct. 2009

I recently returned from a visit to Djolu Technical College in October, and am happy to report that construction of one guest house for visiting professors is nearly complete. Students and local residents have worked together to produce 10,000 bricks, and the mason has completed most of the work on the first guest house. A second one is currently being built. The houses each have three bedrooms and a living room.

Due to an underestimate of the cost for masonry, carpentry and roofing costs, we experienced a funding shortfall of $456. The masons and carpenters often work with a squad of assistants. In our cost projections, we had neglected to take into account some tasks, such as going to the pond to draw water for the construction. If we are able to cover the funding shortfall in early January, the construction of the second house will be completed by the end of January or early February!

Being able to provide housing for visiting professors will contribute to the College’s long-term financial stability, because it will save money by reducing the professors’ per diem expenses.

Professors will not be able to inhabit the completed guest houses until they are equipped with beds, chairs, and tables. Furniture can be built by carpenters in Djolu out of locally available materials, but we will need to raise additional funds for that purpose.

Some of the professors travel 300 miles from the University of Kisangani to teach in Djolu. They endure lifestyle hardships and separation from their families in order to assist our young institution of higher education. By providing them with a comfortable residence, we demonstrate our gratitude and provide inducement for their continued support, thanks to our friends overseas who have made this possible.

We have received the following letter from a third year student in Environment and Sustainable Development at Djolu Technical College (also called Institut Supérieur de Développement Rurale). Construction has begun on the dormitory for visiting professors referenced in the letter below. Some students are helping to pay off their tuition by providing donated labor on the construction project. We hope to complete the building by December, with thanks to our friends and supporters.

“Ladies and Gentlemen in the USA:

We have the honor of sharing with you some of our experiences at the "Superior Institute of Rural Development” at Djolu.

One important thing is that we would like to thank Mr. Albert Lokasola and our permanent faculty for founding this College. Since the creation of our district of Tshuapa, there has never been an institute of higher education here.

Concerning our track record, among the graduates of the first class, we have at the present time: -- A territorial administrator responsible for finance. -- We also have school principals -- And some general administrators.

Now we ask you, our friends from the outside, to support Mr. Albert Lokasola in his initiative and to help us fund the construction of our building for the students, housing for the visiting professors, and help us obtain electricity, without which we are hampered in all our evening academic activities.

In brief, we hope you realize that our professors come to teach courses in our institution to deepen our knowledge of science and to exchange ideas.

Thank you. Bibiche Miemetko-Mka A student at ISDR at Djolu”

I have just returned from Djolu to Kisangani where I regain access to the internet to send you this update on the Djolu Technical College. While I was there , I taught a 45-hour course called “Utilisations des ressources naturelles” [use, environmental impacts, politics and regulation of renewable and nonrenewable resources] for the nine third-year students nearing graduation. They are now preparing to defend their theses in May. Two of these students are young women.

None of the students have ever used a computer, although they are taught a class about computer technology. We are currently seeking grant funding to realize our dreams of establishing an internet connection for the college this year. Donations through Global Giving Foundation will help us greatly toward this important goal.

The students wrote letters for me to email to the college’s supporters. One student, Litonga Longandza, wrote:

“Dear friends, Because of financial problems, the three-year cycle to get the undergraduate degree took me five years. Because of the poverty of my family, ISDR [Djolu Technical College] comes like a dream to me, an opportunity to study at home. After three years of training, I am not the same person than before. I am more capable now, and I feel able to take on important responsibilities in local development efforts. May our Sister Citizens in Falls Church, Virginia and elsewhere across the United States accept my thanks for having opened my eyes. Here we have some difficulties, but any school newly created has problems. Especially equipment problems. Once again, with outstretched hands, receive my thankings!”

With best regards to our friends in the USA, Albert Lokasola

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Organization Information

Kokolopori-Falls Church Sister City Partnership

Location: Falls Church, VA - USA
Project Leader:
Ingrid Schulze
Program Director
Falls Church, Virginia United States

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