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Equipping Congo’s youth is goal of upcoming PC(USA) conference

Congo Mission Network conference set for March 14-16 is now open for registration

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

At the Congo Mission Network conference, several leaders of the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) and the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) will explain their goals for their schools. Pictured here are students of CPC’s the Dipha dia Nzambe school in Kananga. (Photo by Bill Reinhold)

LOUISVILLE — The Congo Mission Network (CMN) is hosting its annual conference on March 14-16 at the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Conference Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

The conference theme, “Education for Transformation: Equipping Congolese Youth for the Future,” will unite partners in the U.S. and Congo to help strengthen Congo’s sparsely funded education programs.

Registration is free for online attendees outside the U.S.; otherwise there is a $25 fee. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) staff, mission co-workers, Congolese and college students can also register for free. The in-person attendee fee is $100, although that is discounted to $75 if one registers before January 31.

To register, visit https://congopartners.org/register2024/.

PC(USA) is the primary sponsor of the CMN and has been a partner for decades. 2024 conference participants include representatives of churches of the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) and the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK). The CPC and the CPK oversee about 1,200 Congolese public schools.

According to a CMN press release, discussions to be held during the conference come at a pivotal time in history, as young adults in Africa are being pushed to a dizzying new world role. The birth rates of the already youthful African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are sharply rising while birth rates in most other countries, including the U.S., are falling. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to nearly double to 2.5 billion, or one quarter of the Earth’s population, over the next 25 years, according to the UN World Population Prospects 2022.

American and Congolese partners’ goals are to increase employment prospects for youth and young adults in the DRC. They also want to greatly enhance public schools, leadership and entrepreneurship training, technical education, and public health measures for them.

Increased technical and vocational training programs in middle and high schools are hoped to boost employment among young Congolese adults. Classes in sewing, tailoring, welding, electrical work, and construction are planned. Here are students at the IT center at Institute Technique de Kamu. (Photo by Bill Reinhold)

The Rev. Zacharie Mboyamba Kabala of Kananga, DRC, will be the keynote speaker. The legal representative of CPC and director of the Department of Evangelism and the Life of the Church, he is well-known for his skill in conflict resolution and community-building. PC(USA) mission co-workers Jeff and Christi Boyd, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and José LaMont Jones, mission co-worker in Kinshasa and educational specialist to the CPK, are also scheduled to participate in various capacities at the conference.

Other speakers include Dr. Larry Sthreshley, senior advisor for innovation, localization, and partnerships with Corus International, a former PC(USA) mission co-worker, and Dr. Freddy Nsapu, head of education for CPK.

A full conference program will be posted on the CMN website when finalized.


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