The village communities and schools in Congo, Burundi and Cameroon strive for an increase of their life quality. Young people expect better education opportunities, teachers and school management request better training on pedagogy, policy and ICT topics.
BlikOpAfrika supports these justified ambitions and dreams by Offering pedagogical, didactical and ICT oriented training for teachers and principals.
Optimizing the teaching equipment of the schools.
Providing the schools with energy and communication infrastructure.
We want all schools we work with to get gradually equipped with sufficient solar power and internet capabilities.
We want to provide the school management teams with a training budget they can manage autonomously in order to professionalize their teaching staff on pedagogy, didactics and ICT-usage. They can benefit from the input of Congolese and Belgian experts. We also support by the exchange of good practices and significant experiences.
The living and working conditions within the boarding schools do get our special attention. Dormitories, cafeterias and kitchens have to be renewed. Educating the interns will happen at a higher level if driven by well-trained educators, so even the leisure time will make sense.
We currently strive for the integral support of five local communities in Kikwit, Kingandu, Totshi, Kimbongo and Kibangu, regardless their status or religious beliefs. We do this in consultation with the province inspection, local school management, hospitals, the local radio, etc.
We provided students and teachers with all kinds of school supplies: manuals, dictionaries, writing materials, PCs, board paint, globes …..
We trained the school management in Congo, Burundi and Cameroon.
Flemish and Congolese education experts deployed several pedagogical and didactical training programs.
In Belgium we trained two Congolese partners on maintenance of the technical installations on site.
In five locations, with primary and/or secondary schools, we installed solar panels and a satellite dish. This enables the lighting in the classrooms and it connects the teachers and the students with the World Wide Web.
Each year two to three teams from BlikOpAfrika Belgium (BOA-B) visit the local communities in Congo to work out mid-term planning, provide training, deploy technical installations…
In order to realize our goals we created a partner network. On site, we collaborate intensively with the African sisters Annuntiaten, the Fondation Banatee, the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique of Kikwit, the University of Kinshasa, the regional inspection and the Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking en Technische Bijstand (VVOB – Education for Development).
In Flanders we can fully rely on our volunteers within BlikOpAfrika, on the support of the schools of the sisters Annuntiaten and of about 1500 sympathizers all over Flanders.
Since 2011 we have a close collaboration with the NGO CDI Bwamanda, very active in Congo for several decades (www.cdibwamanda.org).
In Congo, we recently started up BOA-A, the counterpart of BOA-B, the founding BlikOpAfrika organization in Belgium. BOA-A consists of local experts – laymen as well as religious people – which together with BlikOpAfrika-Belgium runs and supervises the projects. This initiative aims to promote the autonomy of the local partner and to empower its organization and structure.
Naamsesteenweg 355, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
Mobile: +32 475 38 71 93
E-mail: info[at]boa.ksleuven.be *
*Here the “@” has been replaced by “[at]” to hide the email addresses from spanners.
5 ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
BOA-B (BlikOpAfrika-Belgium) works with a board, permanent workgroups, ad hoc workgroups, a financial cell and an editorial team for the website and the magazine Nsangu ya Bwala.
BOA-A (BlikOpAfrika -Africa) is the direct representative for BOA-B in Congo.
5.1 THE BOARD
• The Board submits the goals and program of BOA (= What?).
• The Board determines the strategy to be followed by BOA (= How?).
• The Board translates the goals into projects for implementation delegated to the permanent core teams (education/Logistics …) or to ad hoc established core teams.
• The Board follows-up on the projects which are carried out by the core teams. This means that each workgroup leader on a regular basis (minimum every two months) reports on the development of the projects.
• The Board makes the annual budget based on a multi-annual budget planning. It delegates the follow-up of the financial operations as well as the accounting issues to the financial cell.
• The Board approves the annual accounts.
• The Board in cooperation with the workgroups ensures that the core teams have sufficient ‘manpower’. New members, both for the Board and for the core teams, will be adopted after an intake meeting with the president and another member of the board.
• Shipments to Africa happen on demand by the core teams and after approval by the Board.
• The Board ensures participation of and communication with local partners and with BOA-A. The draft reports of each board are shared with the members of the permanent core teams.
• The Board holds an annual reflection and meeting day for all BOA-B members.
• The Board meets monthly except for the month of August. In cases of urgency, the president may acknowledge additional meeting requests for ad hoc consultation and decisions.
• The Board supervises the volunteers and the donors-file.
5.2 CORE TEAM EDUCATION
The core team Education has the following tasks:
• Planning, in consultation with BOA-A, the pedagogical didactical training, needed in Congo. In case competencies in Congo would fail, it ensures implementation and follow-up with Belgian experts.
• Planning, in consultation with BOA-A, the required training for school managers. If needed it ensures the deployment and the follow-up.
• Preparing the ICT training that should be given to teachers, managers and administrative staff. This happens after consulting BOA-A.
• Developing the required initiatives regarding training persons responsible for the operation and maintenance of the technical installations in the various locations.
• Making an inventory and gathering teaching materials.
• Creating promotional material (games, movies, presentations…) that can be used for awareness raising and fundraising in Flanders, Belgium.
5.3 CORE TEAM LOGISTICS
The core team Logistics has the following tasks:
• Preparing and following up on the material shipments to Africa.
• Preparing and implementing the deployment of technical installations (containers, solar panels, internet antenna…) in Congo.
• Managing the technical installations. In case of training local technicians collaboration with the core team Education and with BOA-A is needed.
5.4 CORE TEAM FUNDRAISING
The core team Fundraising has the following tasks:
• Planning and rolling-out fundraising activities in cooperation with other core teams and the board.
• Providing information and promotional material that can be used in activities in schools, parishes … (this refers to flyers, presentations…).
• Managing the file of the donors (individuals and organizations). An extensive address file is maintained in order to contact donors and to announce BOA-activities.
• Forecasting each year, in November, an overview of expected income (the budget belongs to the responsibility of the board).
5.5 EDITORIAL TEAM NSANGU YA BWALA
The editorial team Nsangu ya Bwala has to publish each semester an edition of the newsletter Nsangu ya Bwala. This includes:
• Publishing or selecting relevant texts and illustrations on our operations and on the general theme of cooperation with developing countries.
• Taking care of the editorial office.
• aking care of layout and preparing ready-to-print.
• Ensuring the distribution in cooperation with the core team Fundraising.
5.6 FINANCIAL CELL
The Financial Cell has the following tasks:
• Managing all financial operations both at BOA-B as at BOA-A.
• Monitoring the budget as decided on by the board as well as the financial arrangements with CDI Bwamanda.
• Making an inventory of all the gifts and providing the necessary tax certificates.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE INTERNET CONNECTIONS
Actually BOA has five sites with a permanent internet connection. The site at Totshi, had been out of service since the installation was struck by lightning two years ago. During one of last year’s missions we have restored the electric power there and had a lightning rod installed. During the technical mission in March 2013 that internet connection has been restored.
The central node in our network lies in Kikwit. It is our administrative and logistic center and our base for missions to the schools in the region. Kibangu, the nearest lies at 15 kilometers, and like all the others it can only be reached by dirt road. The most distant, and rarely reachable in one day, is Kimbongo at 250 kilometres; Totshi lies at 150 and Kingandu at 120 kilometres distance from Kikwit.
In every site we have installed electric power generated with solar panels and stored in batteries. The main purpose is for use in the school, the dormitories and for the ICT.
Even by African standards the situation is difficult. Only Kikwit is connected to the electric grid but it rarely gets any current. Tothsi, Kimbongo and Kingandu are not reachable by phone or mobile…
The basic ICT configuration is a small internet cyber with four to eight units connected to the internet. Printers and scanners are available. Because of a 256 Kbps downlink and a 128 Kbps uplink (in shared mode) we keep the internet restricted to activity in the cyber. The main purpose is to give the teachers access to the internet, providing them with a window to the world and to plug them into the vast repository of freely available knowledge. The facilities provided can help them with their administrative tasks too.
The cybers are also meant as a service to the local community so people can come in for small administrative task such as to take photocopies and get in touch their relatives by e-mail and over VoIP.
In the more advanced schools we have taken the next step and there a computer class provides the means for basic ICT education. Where as in the cybers the computers run Windows or Ubuntu, for a number of reasons the computers in the ICT classes are all restricted to Ubuntu.
The next step will consist in integrating ICT in the fabric of education, an ambitious but necessary step to take. It will involve an upgrade of the communication bandwidth.
Actually we are preparing a new batch of second hand desktops and laptops to be sent to Kikwit. In the coming months, after reaching their destinations, the total number of installed units will be over seventy