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Rice mill improves lives in Congo

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.
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Thanks to United Methodist Women, the women in Luena and Kitenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo are making a big difference; they are relying on themselves and supporting women at all socio-economic levels of the community. What is this big difference? A grinding mill, which is a great asset and source of income.

Your support of the World Service Fund apportionment supports program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Mujinga KaBamba, chair of United Methodist Women in the Kitenge district, shared, “The installation of the grinding mill has reduced the travel time for women in our church neighborhood. The distance between the church and marketplace has always been so far, especially with the load on our heads. Thanks to the grinding mill in the church compound, women’s lives are easier.”

Perfectly Situated for Ease of Access
The church and the mill are located at the center of almost 520 houses in Kitenge along a main road that links two districts in the North Katanga Annual Conference. “United Methodist Women here display a strong identity as United Methodist Women, thanks to this rice entrepreneurship,” Mwema Kalenga, United Methodist Women local leader in Luena, explained.

Per day, according to the workers at the grinding mill, 80 clients receive rice as provided by the United Methodist Women grinding mill in Kitenge.

The rice feeds local families and is also transported to Kamina for sale. Rice has become the staple diet in the Haut Lomami district. At the marketplace and the bus station where the women set up booths, the commuters and bus passengers buy rice from the women’s cooperative venture, according to Nday Kalenga, a market vendor at the Kamina market and a pastor’s spouse.

Increasing and Sharing the Profits
The mill provides a monthly income of approximately 350 dollars, which contributes to the district apportionment, a stipend for the worker, and maintaining the mill. Women in Kitenge also contribute to the church’s women’s coordination desk. At the end of year, Honorine Mujing Mwad, North Katanga Annual Conference Women’s Work Coordinator, foresees that the conference will be able to buy a sewing machine, expanding the women’s empowerment program.

In Kitenge, women have used the financial support of United Methodist Women to make other projects possible, including a goat-raising project. Today, women thank God for the mill, the goat project and a nearby palm oil machine. “Looking at these women activities, they are small scale businesses, such as this grinding mill, which enables everyday women to work to gain daily income and sustain our homes,” says Mama Banza Kasongo, a rice client and market vendor.

The Rev. Dr. Betty Kazadi Musau, North Katanga communicator, UMW Country Team for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The World Service Fund provides basic financial support to program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church. Through World Service funding, agencies support annual conferences and local congregations in living out God’s mission for the worldwide Church. General agencies also provide essential services and ministries beyond the scope of individual local congregations and annual conferences through services and ministries that are highly focused, flexible, and capable of rapid response.