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Member Q+A: The Story of the Goma Cluster

Jackson is a member of the Goma Cluster in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this Q+A, he tells us more about himself and the Goma Cluster. 

Tell us about yourself! I am a husband and a father of two girls and a boy. I am also a humanitarian aid worker with experience training various communities on public health, and coordinating community projects. I have a degree in Public Health and also assist in lecturing at a number of local higher education institutions and universities in the North Kivu region.

Where are you from and what makes you proud to be from this region? I love the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because of its geographical location, rich in flora and fauna. The people are also hospitable and the land is fertile for agriculture. 

How did you get involved in the Goma Cluster? I heard about the idea from my friend who then put me in touch with Robins from the Arukah Support team. Robins then gave me more information and trained me on how to start a Cluster. We then launched in 2023 and since then have been meeting every week to share our experiences and get equipped with tools on health and wellbeing. 

What challenges does the region face? As a result of the ongoing conflict in the country, rebels have blocked roads which have affected the trade in our region. The war has also seen thousands of people displaced and escape to Goma, causing a surge in population. The poor living conditions and almost daily arrival of displaced people has limited access to basic needs such as food, water and health care for the mostly injured and sick people. 

How is the Goma Cluster playing a part? Given the situation, the Cluster aims to bring people together to share their challenges, strengths, skills and wisdom and information. We also want to initiate awareness campaigns so that all people can take ownership of health, conflict management, social reintegration and development within their communities.

And what has the Cluster achieved so far? By coming together, we have been able to start income generating activities such as buying motorcycles, raising chickens and breeding rabbits. We have also been able to provide school supplies for orphans and porridge to elderly women. Our awareness campaigns have seen us educate communities about fighting malnutrition and food safety. One of these campaigns is called the ‘One plot One garden’ program. Providing each plot with a vegetable garden, the program is not only raising awareness on food security but is also combating hunger in the community. 

What do you hope to see happen in the future? In the future, we hope that the group will achieve several concrete goals. These include setting up two incubators to produce chicks for the Goma clusters, developing a community field specific to the Goma cluster, securing funding for planned activities and having office space to share experiences, exchange ideas and activities within the Cluster.

Learn how you can break the cycle of conflict here.


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