An Economic Development Update
James Fischer, Director of Economic Development, recently returned from a three week trip to Congo. While there, he was able to provide an update about a bridge at Kungu River that was rebuilt by local engineer, KD Zongalinga.
It’s not often that we hear positive stories coming out of Africa. We are all accustomed to seeing images of poor, sick children and natural disasters in areas with poor infrastructure. Our hearts hurt, our prayers go up, but it’s mixed with feelings of helplessness. Here at PCP, we know these are real struggles in many parts of the world, especially Congo. But we also know there is life, good work, and hope in Christ in Congo. God is already at work and there is much to be celebrated! Our partners are working hard every day to improve life in their own communities. Throughout decades of partnership with many different farmers, builders, mechanics, and technicians, we are happy to continue this legacy as we support both new and old partners.
One such partner is KD Zongalinga. KD grew up in the CEUM and has learned a lot from Covenant missionaries and visitors. His skills include welding, mechanics, carpentry, and management. He also started a multifaceted business that revolves around mechanical and transportation services. KD, the son of a pastor, is known in the community as a devout supporter of his church. KD knows that bridges are key to economic growth, access to medical care, and routes to school for children. Working with local farmers, transporters, and church leaders, KD helped us understand the impact of the bridges he was hoping to build.
Last year, PCP supported KD’s efforts to build a bridge over the swampy Kungu River. KD’s assessment estimated that roughly 20 trucks per day use this bridge each carrying about $10,000 worth of merchandise and produce, connecting rural farmers with regional markets. In addition, dozens of motorcycles, bicycles, and smaller cars use bridges to transport both people and goods. With a new bridge over the Kungu River, 20 trucks, each carrying $10,000 worth of merchandise, can participate in the regional economy. Talk about bang for your buck—a $15,000 bridge that facilitates $200,000 of commerce every day!
Over the last year and a half, we provided support to KD that has enabled him to build six bridges, but more are needed. We want to continue supporting KD in his efforts to build bridges, but also train more people to do the same. There is also need for different types of bridges, and for training in road repair. Our economic development program is supporting bridge building and road repair initiatives like this. Would you join us and support the dreams and efforts of our partners?