It is important to give young people in Congo space for reflection and development to ultimately change their lives says Medi Muyisa
For integral development and return of lasting peace in the community, it is essential to inspire young leaders to change society from within through group work methods and creativity. Young leadership should work for peace, be aware of the problems of the community and should lead with real solutions to real problems through innovative initiatives.
However, it is easier said than done. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there are very few organizations that support young people. This means that young people are more likely to be manipulated by politicians and form armed groups. While it is important to give young people space for reflection and development to ultimately change their lives to bring visible impact, young people in Congo lack that space.
Supporting Young People in Congo
To equip, inspire and support the agents of change that are the young people, The Congo Tree, an international organization has been working in the DRC for youth leadership and training. The organization believes that young people can be authors of change to solve problems in the community.
It is vital to enable a life of fulfilment for all young people and help them nurture their visions.
To do this, The Congo Tree offers free training to youth, in leadership and entrepreneurship, programs to support young people through mentoring, social or business projects and reading and English clubs.
Apart from different training, The Congo Tree gives youth a space to exhibit different talents through cultural events to promote the message of peace. The Congo Tree, for its contribution to the youth and community of DRC, has received several recognitions like the Hope Prize, Congo Excellence International Organization and The YALA Prize (Youth African Leadership Award).
Young people, the biggest influencers and motivators
The organization is based in the east of DRC at Goma, a region known for violence and atrocities in the past. Its WYLD program aims to inspire young leaders to change their respective communities, equip and support them by highlighting their backgrounds, and encourage them to be innovative in entrepreneurship. Since the young people are both victims and perpetrators of many troubles in the community, the role of our program is to help them take responsibility to be peacemakers.
Through its WYLD program, The Congo Tree has mentored over 1000 youth in Eastern DRC since 2013. These young people have been recognized as a great pride of the country for their contribution to the community. They have displayed creativity, entrepreneurship, community problem solving, teamwork, and conflict resolution and peacebuilding in the region. They are the biggest influencers and motivators in the community because they understand their identity and roles in the development of the region.
Young Leadership in Congo : The Path Ahead
One of the Leader Mentors, Joel Kameme expressed, “I am proud of what The Congo Tree has given me in terms of entrepreneurship training, I understand that I can accomplish great things that can help my family and my community. Today, I am one of the great producers of natural juices in North Kivu Province, DRC. It is all thanks to The Congo Tree that I discovered my strengths and weaknesses. I am super proud to be part of this great family.”
Like Kameme, it is important to continue and foster the young people of Congo towards youth leadership, entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation.
With its values of inspiration, creativity, staying young and together, The Congo Tree plans to continue to expand its activities not only in the DRC but throughout the African continent and other continents of the world to bring young people together to positively influence and impact their communities.
Medi Muyisa is the Assistant Director of The Congo Tree, an organization that mentors youth in leadership and entrepreneurship. Since a young age, he has worked for the protection of children and fought against the recruitment of children in armed groups in Congo. He has received several awards in the African continent for his work as a youth mentor while his work is focused on the personal development of youth and problem-solving in the community.