Ecology, solidarity development and sustainability: the Green Community of Sant'Egidio in Bukavu - Congo

On 19th October the university corses for the Bukavu Green Community Project, promoted by Sant’Egidio, have started in Kivu at the UCB University Campus.

At present, 30 engineers from Bukavu and Goma are attending their first semester classes for MA in plants design, construction and management to generate electricity from renewable sources. The course will end, with the second semester, in April 2019. Within the framework of the bilateral Agreement on Environmental Cooperation between the Italian Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Conservation of Nature and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the project has set itself three ambitious objectives over three years:

- to offer high-level TRAINING to Congolese engineering graduates in the fields of energy from renewable sources and proper use and reuse of water and waste.

- to start WORKERS’ COOPERATIVES in the solar energy sector, as spin off of the project, with rapid entrepreneurial assimilation in local entities.

- to install ELECTRICITY GENERATION sites supporting local services and facilities, where electricity is very often absent and not for everyone.

The high-level training is ensured by a partnership with professors from two top-level Universities such as the Turin Polytechnic (ITA) and the Catholic University of Bukavu. As the Secretary General of the Congolese Environment Ministry said on his visit to Bukavu “We very much need skills to remain over time.Training and Work is the right duo, so that young people can know what and how to do… and they don’t leave, rather invest what they learned in their own territory”.

Among the planned Solar Power Plants, two are particularly noteworthy for Sant’Egidio. The first one will be implemented in the Center for Peace area, that Sant'Egidio is finalising in Bukavu. So far, it will be the largest achieved in South Kivu, with a rated power of 70kW. It will provide energy to the surrounding area and supply electricity to the city's largest high school and nearby college campus. Therefore, clean energy for young people and education. The 2nd one will be realized in Goma, in the area of the Primary School named to Floribert Bwana Chui, martyr of resistance to corruption. It will serve the school and the surrounding neighborhood of Mugunga - converted over time from refugee camp into the most remote neighborhood at the west end of Goma. Therefore, clean energy for the growth of outlying areas of the city.
There was such enthusiasm at the course’ start, among students and teachers. The Spirit of Sant’Egidio had already overwhelmed everyone, with its love for Africa, faith that solidarity and sustainable development are always possible, hope that Africa may not repeat the same mistakes made in different parts of the planet and avoid a reckless race to using non-renewable and highly polluting resources for energy production.