Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pray For Peace in DR Congo

It is with a sad heart that I write this note. We received reports about the tragic loss of Jonathan Karambura in Goma, DRC. Jonathan was shot and killed this evening (Tues 23 Sept) by armed robbers at his home in Goma. Jonathan served as the Finance Manager of our microfinance institution Hekima. He is survived by his wife and children who need our prayers. Please pray for Jonathan’s family, for Hekima, it’s clients and staff, and all the World Relief employees in DRC.

This terrible loss seems to be unrelated to the recent unrest in Goma over the weekend. As we get more information we will update our blog. Sam Ferguson, Hekima’s Managing Director, sent me the article below which has more detail about the problems in the region.

Prayerfully, Gareth

KINSHASA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Weeks of heavy fighting between the army and Tutsi rebels in eastern Congo's North Kivu province has forced 100,000 people from their homes, the United Nations said on Monday.

Congolese forces and rebels led by renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda started their latest bout of fighting in late August when a January peace deal aimed at ending more than a decade of violence collapsed.

On Monday the army blasted Nkunda's hilltop positions with rockets, heavy guns, and helicopter gunships.

U.N. and other international mediators have urged all sides to pull back to initial positions and return to talks, but with little effect. Frustration that these calls were being ignored spilled over into anger among many locals, triggering riots and looting in the provincial capital Goma on Sunday.

"We estimate that around 100,000 people have been displaced since the renewed fighting started on Aug. 28," Christophe Illemassene, spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, said.

North Kivu is one of the world's worst conflict-driven humanitarian crises.

An estimated 5.4 million have died from fighting, hunger and disease since a five-year war, fuelled by Congo's mineral riches, started in 1998.

The latest wave of clashes is worsening an already dire humanitarian crisis in the tiny border province.

More than 830,000 North Kivu people had already fled on-off fighting last year and sporadic clashes during this year's eight-month peace process, which was plagued from the start by daily ceasefire violations.

Illemassene said many of those recently displaced had already been forced to flee several times, and it was unclear how many were new internal refugees.

The daily fighting is also hampering aid efforts.

"Delivery of assistance is being limited, because of the lack of access," he said. "It's definitely a concern, the humanitarian situation. We're very concerned."

The U.N. mission in Congo has come under pressure from local officials and the government for not doing enough to pressure Nkunda's rebels to disband and reintegrate into the army.

The transfer of bodies of government soldiers to a hospital in Goma on Sunday sparked angry anti-rebel protests that degenerated into riots and looting, U.N. officials said.

A mob, led by the widows of the dead soldiers, attacked petrol stations rumoured to be owned by Nkunda.

Peacekeepers fired in the air to repel an angry crowd trying to force its way into a U.N. base on the outskirts of the city.

The U.N. mission cancelled flights from the capital Kinshasa to Goma on Monday and restricted its employees' movements there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

WR Microfinance Forums

Visit the WR Microfinance Forums site. Give us your feedback on World Relief's microfinance programs. Ask the questions you have been wanting to ask, and help us to improve the way we work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

WR wants to Hear from You

We are developing a new tool for fundraising, an endowment fund in which 105% of your donation is used for supporting our economic development programs. It would be great to get your feedback on the endowment fund idea. To find out more about the fund and give us feedback join our google group, visit or sign up below.

I am looking forward to hearing from you, Gareth

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Monday, September 8, 2008


Wait for Wendy's Network Update, but here is a sneak preview:

Active Clients 159,239
Outstanding Loan Portfolio $37,666,000
Portfolio at Risk > 30 days 7%
Percent Female Clients 82%
Operational Self-Sufficiency 94%
Total Staff (Local/Expatriate) 1,138/6
Average Outstanding Loan Size $237

as at June 30 2008