16 August 2012

CDA Holds Its First Graduation Ceremony

On 3rd August 2012, Community Development Alliance held its first graduation ceremony. From the time the school was started way back with Agwara Machine, 30 students have already completed their course of study in Carpentry and joinery and Tailoring. In this graduation however 8 students who recently completed received their Certificates in a ceremony that was attended by Chief of Anghal who was the Chief Guest, the team from Canada, community leaders, business community, members of CDA, community members etc. Here Asumani the volunteer teacher for tailoring receives a Certificate of recognition
Mama Mado the Chairperson of CDA opened the function with the word of welcome and introduction. She expressed her disappointment to women out of whom none is graduating despite her being the chairperson of the organization that is running the school. She encouraged everyone who attended the ceremony to go back as spread the news of what CDA is doing and persuade many people to join the school especially women. She further noted that women have always remain behind in all sectors, “this is the time that we need to come up and affirm our presence in the community” she states. As she concluded, Mama Mado conveyed with grief and agony the loss of four members of CDA within this year 2012, these include Acor Meka, Deo and Jeanette () she asked the congregation to stand up for a moment of silence to remember and pray for their souls. In the photo below Mama Mado giving her speech during the graduation
Vincent in his speech started by appreciating those who have tirelessly dedicated their time and resources towards the organization and the school, on that note, he particularly appreciated the volunteer teachers who have altruistically given their time to pass on their knowledge and skills to the learners more over on voluntary basis. He encouraged everyone to have that kind of heart if the community is to develop. He added that people should be aware that CDA as well as RAS are still very small organizations without any stable source of funds like other dig organizations so the expectation of the community should not be like they are working with big/reach organization, he urged the community to avoid looking at hand giving as being development, actually hand giving creates a breeding ground for poverty. With CDA/RAS we wish to build community strengths, change people’s attitude, encourage participation, expose the community, this does not only mean increase in income but also our social life and the way we can manipulate the environment sustainably. This kind of celebration which is the first of its kind in this community should open our eyes and the next time we are having the same, there should be even a bigger number of students, I will be even happier if the number of female over weighs the number of male. A group photo at the CDA school
The Student representative Watumbe Puceng expressed his gratitude for the great work that CDA has done, is still doing and will continue doing for the good of the community. He said that when they first started studying most people thought they were playing around and often laughed at them, but for them they meant what they were doing and they kept to their target but now they are enjoying the fruits of the training. He proudly said, they are among the first people to test the fruit of CDA and they feel good about it. He thus urged all the young people who do not have vocational skills to join the training; he expressed his sadness about the women who joined with them but did not complete, he also encouraged them to resume and others who have not joined to as well join as it is for their own benefit. Crystal on behalf of Reach Architecture Studios encouraged the students to employ the skills learnt to improve on the economic status of themselves, the community of Anghal, Mahagi, and the DRC by passing on the knowledge they have learnt to other members of the community.

15 August 2012


During their visit they also visited the Chief of Anghal Ubimo Djalaure II Upidhkich Serge who pledged his full support for the project and to demonstrate his solidarity he offered a gift of a goat and a piece of land for CDA on which the school will be built, the land is located in Nyalebbe Trading Centre. Apart from the plot of land he offered for the school construction, he had earlier on during Crystal’s first visit, given a large piece of land on Got Ulwangini (Ulwangini hill) for CDA to plant trees. All this is a sign that the organization (CDA) has local support as well as the support of the community and government leaders. In the photo above Ubimo Jalaure offering a gift of a goat to the visiters and below he is giving his speech during the graduation.
In his speech during the graduation, the Chief urged the community to embrace the good thing that is coming to them. He stressed that the community of Anghal is generally poor because of illiteracy and ignorance so if a school is being built in the community, it is a sign of development coming to the door step which everyone should be happy about and also take it seriously so that the community can come out of the current situation of biting poverty and social inclusion.


On their way to Nyalebbe, the team from Reach Architecture studios passed via the office of the Territory Administrator for a consultative meeting. The Administrator was pleased to receive them and pledged government support for the project, he assured the team as well as CDA that there is nothing that will avert the project that they are pursuing. He extended his appreciation for the work that development partners like CDA and Reach Architecture Studios are doing in the development and empowerment of the community which duty the government could not manage without the support of such partners.In the picture the Administrator in the middle of Crystal and Lisa in front of his office. He exceptionally expressed his excitement about the vision of building a Vocational Training Centre, which to him had never existed in the territory. He recalled that most people who have vocational skills like carpentry, tailoring, brick laying etc learn from their fathers and grand fathers which skills now do not suit the current trend of modernity, the Vocational Training Centre therefore will bring in new and fresh skills that will trigger new ways of doing things which is more environmental friendly as well as enabling the youth and the community live decent and dignified life.
After the meeting with the Administrator, the team had a stopover at a community radio station (la colom) where Crystal had an interview. The news later on went on air in the evening news and the next morning in local language (Alur) and French respectively.


Following the last visit of Crystal in 2010, she has made the second visit with her colleague Lisa Sato with whom they are working on the thesis project and have pledged to build for CDA a vocational school as part of the project. In the photo, Crystal and Lisa are having a meeting with the community on their arival The visit was to understand the current socio-economic conditions and needs of the community in Nyalebbe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as understand existing architectural typologies and local craftsmanship utilized in the region. With this, they aim to enhance their understanding on how both of these components can influence the architecture at both a macro and micro level.
During the visit they moved to all the 10 Groupement of Anghal Collectivité, they met all the Chef de Groupement, had several focus group discussions with the communities around Anghal, had interviews with individuals, builders, carpenters, tailors, mechanics, etc, some of whom will hopefully help in the construction of the school which is meant to start in April 2013. Crystal Carrying a local basket made of bamboo

24 May 2011

We are currently working on the business plan (which is still in a draft form) that we intend to use to solicit for funds from individuals, donor organization well-wishers etc. Our main area of concern here is the training of teachers, buying an additional plot of land, salary for teaching and support staff and administrative cost, as our partner organization in Canada (Reach Architecture Studio from Canada) takes on the task of designing and building of the school. In addition to the items on the business plan, the community felt that Issues such as Environment and HIV/AISD be included in the business plan as they are in nowadays not only considered to be crosscutting in development activities, but also have become a social upheaval that to a greater extent affects almost every part of the world more especially those in developing countries (rural communities) like Nyalebbe, this is due to their negative effect on community livelihood, human development and sustainable development among others.

The draft business plan depicts the current situation of the project, information about the project and community. The draft can be accessed from our nabbur page (http://www.nabuur.com/en/village/nyalebe/project/task/help-nyalebbe-community-train-teachers-and-acquire-larger-piece-land-co) as it is still a draft we can not place it on the website.

30 October 2010

Continued Progress in Nyalebbe - and some music!

When we first acquired a donation from the students of Europe in 2008 we set up a Vocational Training Centre in which young women and men are developing their skills in Carpentry and Tailoring. We procured a number of Sewing machines in addition to the Agwara Machine which was an earlier donation from a friend in Australia; we also bought materials for start up and equipments and tools for carpentry.

From that time till now, as a small school; we have been able to graduate over 30 students who have been able to employ the skills and knowledge acquired to earn a living in a justified manner; as the primary objective of the school. At the moment we have 7 students taking a course in carpentry and 10 taking in tailoring.

We however still experience a number of challenges, for instance the tutors only obtained informal training and they are volunteers, we have been using a dilapidated building (of early 60s) which we acquire using part of the funding received from Europe, this needs to be salvaged and torn down for better one.

The project being undertaken by Crystal and her thesis partners is an opportunity that we need to uphold in order to build on the existing structures of the community for a sustainable community initiative. We need you to join hands with us in fund raising for a piece of land and training of teachers.

Music as basis for friendship!

In the Agwara dance at the end of the right column of this blog, the subject was the hardship the community was undergoing at that time. Actually the song was composed during famine.

The Adungu dance music I now offer you [click here to play mp3 file, then if necessary use the BACK button to return] is about friendship, how people should love each other and what one expects of a friend. The Adungu is a traditional musical instrument of ours, of the Alur people. You can read more about it here

20 October 2010

Action: a Canadian visitor, new energy and direction!

Crystal Waddell, a masters student of architecture at the University of Toronto in Canada, visited Nyalebbe in July-August 2010 as part of her thesis project to design and help build a Vocational Training Center for the community. 
Here is a photo of Crystal sitting with Mama Mado while Mama Mado welcomes her to Nyalebbe.

Everyone was pleased to meet Crystal. We really appreciate what she is trying to do to help us get the school started.

In this photo, Crystal is meeting children, in the company of Adubango and Deo. Adubangio Upio is Secretary of CDA. He has a diploma in literature and philosophy and teaches in the Kasengu Secondary School. Deo is an agricultural field extension worker for Anghal Collectivité. Deo is our mobilizer. He is a very hard working young man in his late 30s. To him the vocational training centre will engage the community in practical skills. When we were started the CDA he commented "Most people think that help will come from above but this not true. We must work for ourselves. We are so blessed that such an organisation has been set up in our community, we have waited for this opportunity for so long so, it is our turn to demonstrate to the world that that we can also do something."

In this photo you see CDA chair Mama Mado and Vince on either side of Crystal. We hope we can be a strong team together.

During the two week visit, Crystal interacted with the community and surveyed the area while collecting and mapping data and local resources like water sources, vegetation, circulation, surrounding villages, soil type, and topography of the area.  All this information is crucial to the understanding of the region and the design of the school. 

On her way to Nyalebbe (DRC) Crystal spent over a week in Nebbi, Uganda (just across the border) where she observed the various types of resources such as local water projects in Erussi and Nebbi, building suppliers that will be providing materials for the school in Nyalebbe , and other vocational training centres such as Ora Technical Institute, Goli Women Vocational Training Centre, and Arua Technical Institute – Ragem.  Here is a photo of Crystal talking with students of Arua Technical Institute Ragem.

We aim to train teachers for the proposed school from Uganda and possibly in one of the schools visited. 

While in the DRC, Crystal also visited neighbouring places including Mahagi, Ambaki (for a visit with the chief of Anghal), Banda and Bunia.  Bunia, approximately 200km from Nyalebbe is the capital city of Ituri District which is to become a Province.   
Here is a photo of Crystal, accompanied by members of the CDA, meeting the traditional chief of the Anghal, when visiting Ambaki.

Crystal and her two thesis partners Robin Proctor and Lisa Sato intend to have the first phase of the project built by 2013, this is to include programs such as carpentry, tailoring, masonry, and computer science. 

For this project to be successful, we need to have our teachers properly trained as well as we need to acquire a larger plot of land for the construction. The current teachers are volunteers and up to now have only obtained informal training, which is not good enough if we are to aim for higher quality education for the students. As well the piece of land owned is quite small and needs to be expanded upon. 

The building of the vocational training centre will bring many skills and resources to our community, which is vital for both young and old to thrive.  

Here is a photo of CDA executive committee members working with Crystal to survey land owned by the CDA. 

Back in Canada a major next step for Crystal will be construction of a database of all materials, skills, and people needed to build the school and begin its work. This will take time and will give all involved a clear sense of the complexity and serious tasks involved.

We need support to help train our teachers and acquire a larger plot of land for our school.  Please write to Vince or Crystal [see address in right column] if you can help in any way. 

placed on blog by Dennis at Vince's request