Impact Stories & Blogs

Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.

Story featuring the work done by the YALI RLC EA Alumni Chapter of the Republic of Congo

Seated under a tree, away from the scorching sun, several alumni gathered at a local hotel, in a wooden structure that was popular with locals around the area. The alumni, adorned in YALI RLC EA t-shirts, were chatting animatedly. Three of us from the Center joinedschool compound that is very dirty them to witness, first hand, activities alumni carry out on the ground. The sun was towering above our heads. Sweat trickled down some of us and you would often catch one of us wiping it off. It was going to be an exciting day as we were about to witness the words printed on the back of the t-shirts “Empowering Transformation” come to life. We learnt a few French and Lingala words as we waited for a few more alumni to join us. It was time for us to fulfil our agenda of the day, visiting Soprogi primary school which is a public school in the outskirts of Brazzaville and two minutes walking distance from where we were. The school mainly targets low income earners in Moukondo area. It has a population of 1,452 Students. When we walked into the school, we were greeted by mounds of trash and water ponds, from rain that had poured the previous night. There were plastic bags and bottles littered everywhere. If the ground was a man, then it was balding, as the grass was quickly fading away and, in most parts, completely gone. The alumni had identified this school as one that was in dire need of environmental management lessons. Led by the YALI RLC EA Alumni Chapter of Republic of Congo officials, they had contributed money amongst themselves and purchased broom sticks and plastic bins that would be placed in each class in the school. “We realised we needed to come here and share with them why they need to keep their environment clean starting with their immediate surroundings; school and home.” said Patrick Louzolo, the Chapter Chairman. As we went further in, we were hit by the stench of urine. Hygiene was needed even in their toilets. Smack in the middle of the school was water ponds with litter floating. In the classrooms, the walls had more dirt than paint. The situation in this school direly needed an intervention and the alumni involvement was a welcome step towards this. With permission from the school’s administration, we agreed to go class by class and spread the gospel of keeping the environment clean. The first class we entered was of students around the ages of 6 or 7 years. The floor was littered with papers which was evidence that hygiene was not prioritized in this school. Ruth Ewandi, one of the alumni involved in the initiative spoke to them about the importance of ensuring their environment was clean. After speaking to them, she told them to compete on who would fill the bins fastest as she led them to sing the song below in French and they responded:

song the children sang

 Please collect It was shocking to see three plastic bins filled in a matter of minutes from just one class. We came to see the same situation unfold in all classes except for one where the class teacher took it upon herself to buy a broom and ensure the class was clean throughout. After three classes, the alumni split up to ensure all classrooms were covered quickly so as not to disrupt the ongoing sessions Teacher who presided over the clean classroom said, “I always urge them to keep this class clean. We spend so many hours here and It is important that they practice this even at home. I agree we have a lot of room for improvement” Patrick Louzolo, the chairman of the Alumni Chapter of the Republic of Congo was instrumental in leading this exercise. He urged the students to take this seriously and to train their brothers and sisters at home. After the school session we later went to Radio Magnificate, a local community radio station run by the Catholic Church. The alumni were running an awareness campaign on importance of taking care of the environment and talking about their experience as YALI RLC EA alumni. Derly Chester Mboko joined Patrick and Ruth for the interview that was conducted. The following day was supposed to be the main clean-up of the school with more alumni joining in but a heavy downpour from early morning, made those plans to be cancelled. The clean-up was done the following weekend where they swept the school grounds, cleaned the toilets and uprooted the weeds. They also ensured all the waste was properly disposed off. In the spirit of YALI RLC EA, the alumni are paying it forward to their communities and using their resources to make their communities a better place.

Thursday, 29 October 2020, 10:52 AM