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Friends of the Congo

Working to bring about peace, justice and dignity in the heart of Africa

aka FOTC   |   Washington, DC   |  https://www.friendsofthecongo.org

Mission

Raise the consciousness of the world community about the challenges of the Congo and provide support to Congolese institutions in bringing about peaceful and lasting change.\n\nFriends of the Congo envisions a peaceful and prosperous Congo wherein Congolese are able to fulfill their enormous human and natural potential.

Ruling year info

2017

Executive Director

Mr. Maurice Carney

Spokesperson

Mr. Kambale Musavuli

Main address

1629 K St NW Ste 300

Washington, DC 20006 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

37-1516674

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The problem or need our organization is addressing is to make the world aware of the tremendous tragedy that has unfolded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the enormous human and natural potential that exists in the country. Since 1996, an estimated 6 million Congolese have perished as a result of a war of aggression and plunder. The United Nations says it is the deadliest in the world since World War Two. FOTC aims to mobilize a global consensus to help bring an end to the over quarter century conflict in the DRC. In addition, we seek to mobilize global solidarity for the over 100 million Congolese who are striving to live a peaceful, prosperous and dignified existence. Being a part of the second largest rainforest in the world, home to the largest tropical peatlands and filled with strategic minerals such as cobalt that are vital to the green energy transition, the Congo sits at the nexus of the climate crisis and the green energy revolution.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Movement Building

The global movement for peace, justice and human dignity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is as important today as the anti-Apartheid movement was yesterday. Friends of the Congo (FOTC) works assiduously to raise world wide consciousness and build a global constituency for peace and justice in the Congo. FOTC organizes support networks in the US, Canada and Europe, conducts teach-ins throughout the United States and Canada, Latin America, Europe and Africa, advocates for policy changes towards the Congo in the U.S. Congress, and the Canadian and UK Parliaments. FOTC educates and mobilizes high school and university students in order to expand the constituency in support of peace and justice in the Congo. FOTC utilizes both traditional and new media to spread the word about the Congo. In addition, representatives from FOTC write articles, produce fact sheets and offer commentaries about the significance of the Congo to the global community.

Population(s) Served

Friends of the Congo in collaboration with Congo Love have reinvigorated and expanded the Lumumba Scholars initiative. Lumumba scholars is a scholarship program that assists university students in the Democratic Republic of Congo with their tuition fees. The Lumumba Scholars program provides annual scholarships for university students each school year from September to July. Students at all levels of the university are eligible to receive the scholarship. Beneficiaries are required to work with Congo Love in their local communities to carry out public service and conduct community education. In addition, the Lumumba scholars learn about the ideas and teachings of Patrice Emery Lumumba and transmit them to fellow students and members of local communities through study groups and community forums.

The students are chosen by our coalition partners in the Congo. The average cost to send a student to school for one year is $500. Any amount you contribute will help. In return for

Population(s) Served
Students
Children and youth

Work with Congolese youth to educate their peers and their communities about the responsibility of civic engagement. The youth with whom we work engages their local communities through film screenings, workshops, and forums. The program is distinct because it goes into the communities to engage the people in their own environment instead of the traditional conference rooms or classroom settings.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth

At least 40,000 children are estimated to be working in mines in the Congo as one of the symptoms of extreme poverty and systematic oppression. Friends of the Congo works in partnership with L’association Comité Afro Européen RDC in Haute Katanga province to rescue children involved in the mining of cobalt and other minerals and help them access education.

Population(s) Served

Friends of the Congo works with women in rural Congo. It is widely reported that the quarter century-long conflict has been fought on the backs and bellies of Congolese women. Hundreds of thousands of women have been systematically raped as a weapon of war. Congolese women face herculean challenges navigating widespread conflict and insecurity, growing food, raising and providing education for their children and maintaining a household.

The main work we undertake with women in the Congo is centered on agriculture. Women farmers in Lumata DR Congo grow the Atemisisa medicinal plant, which is used to fight against malaria. The women grow, harvest, process and package the plant into tea that is sold inside and outside of the Congo. The returns from the sale of the tea is in the development and maintenance of maternity clinics in the Lumata area.

Population(s) Served

Much like the rest of Africa, the majority of the population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rural. Friends of the Congo partners with the Association of Villages’ Organization of Self-Development (GOVA in French). GOVA’s work in the rural district of Isangi covers approximately 600,000 inhabitants.

The inhabitants have developed a self-sustaining community where they rely primarily on their own resources for community development. They have sought to export this model of self-sufficiency to other parts of the Congo. The core elements of the community development include:

Growing crops
Raising animals
Operating community radio station
Establishment of learning centers
Combatting sleeping sickness
GOVA has launched a rural consciousness raising campaign grounded in self-sufficiency, self-determination and Pan Africanism. The initiative aims to leverage the local learning centers akin to libraries and community radio stations to advance mass rural popular education.

Population(s) Served

Friends of the Congo, alongside our frontline Congolese partners, are organizing to demand that the communities most directly impacted by the destruction and who have the local knowledge are not only in the conversations about the climate crisis but receive the financial resources and decision-making power their solutions require.

With the recent discovery of peatlands in the Congo Basin and what the Washington Post describes as The Race to Defuse Congo’s Carbon Bomb, the global community has a powerful opportunity to collectively dismantle the oppressive and extractive systems. With such a known ‘carbon time bomb’ threatening the entire world, there is tremendous potential to model what is possible when frontline communities are centered and financially resourced to stop industries and governments from logging, drilling or burning the forest for mass agrobusiness.

Population(s) Served

Friends of the Congo partners with multiple organizations focused on or led by youth in various parts of the county dedicated to civic engagement, leadership development, movement building, and the powerful vehicle of art for healing and liberation. We are honored to support courageous and creative youth leaders.
Since 2010, Friends of the Congo has partnered with Yole!Africa, an educational center that fosters social innovation through art and agroecology. Yole!Africa’s decolonial curriculum and activities prioritize critical creativity and empower young people to address the pressing social and ecological issues the communities in our region face. In addition to ongoing courses and activities, Yole!Africa, in conjunction with Alkebu Film Productions, organizes the annual Ishango Encounter (formally known as Salaam Kivu International Film Festival).

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people

Breaking the Silence Congo Week is a week of activities that commemorates the millions of lives lost in the Congo conflict while celebrating the enormous human and natural potential that exists in the country. Communities throughout the globe join in partnership with Congolese each year during the third week of October to screen films, hold teach-ins and forums, organize rallies, host fundraisers, put on concerts and undertake many other activities to elevate the profile of the Congo throughout the globe. Students and community organizers initiated Congo Week in 2008. The flagship initiative of Congo Week is the Congo in Harlem film and performance series. Hosted in Harlem, NY each year at the Maysles Cinema, Congo in Harlem invites Congolese filmmakers, musicians, artists, activists and practitioners to showcase Congolese culture and heritage. Since the COVD pandemic, Congo in Harlem's films and discussions have been offered virtually in order to compliment the in person activities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our organization has three overarching goals:
1. Educate the global community about the challenges and opportunities that exist in the D.R. Congo
2.Mobilize world leaders and ordinary people to join the global movement in support of peace, justice and dignity in the D.R. Congo
3. Support local Congolese institutions working to achieve peace, justice and dignity throughout the country

Friends of the Congo utilizes a range of strategies to realize our objectives or goals: 1. We host an annual campaign called Congo Week (www.congoweek.org), which occurs on the third week of each October. We encourage people throughout the globe to take action to commemorate the millions of lives lost in the Congo. In addition, Congo Week showcases the incredible work being done by Congolese to realize their tremendous human and natural potential. 2. Following Congo Week, our organization undertakes a global speaking and educational tour from February to July where we visit communities to screen films, host teach-ins, facilitate forums and organize workshops, all with the aim of inspiring people to join the global movement for peace and justice in the Congo. 3. We maximize the use of traditional media by providing updates and commentaries for a range of mainstream and alternative media (print, online, radio, and television). In addition to the traditional media, Friends of the Congo utilizes social media such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to educate, mobilize and get people to take action to support our work. 4. We have established support networks in several states throughout the United States and abroad to better engage local communities and get them to take action and advance our objectives and goals. 5. We brief legislative bodies in the US, Canada and UK about policies their governments can take to advance peace in the Congo. 6. We connect frontline and Indigenous leaders and organizations with resources and networks around the world in order to garner valuable support for the work that is being done on the frontlines, especially in the Congo Basin rainforest and in the mining areas of the country. Unfortunately, less than 1% of funding being pledged to this region goes to Indigenous and frontline leaders.

Although we are primarily a volunteer led and run organization, we maximize the talents and expertise of our volunteers. We engage consultants on an as needed basis, especially in the realms of technology and fundraising. In fact, we would not be able to realize our goals were it not for the advances in technology. We maximize the use of technology to make up for what we lack in human power. The strategic use of technology is vital to our ability to fulfill our mission and objectives. In addition to maximizing the use of technology, we have been able to successfully leverage the skills and talents of key individuals and institutions to provide in-kind service to our organization. For example, the seminal film we produced was achieved through the donation of a key supporter who took on the responsibility of producing the film, provided that we developed the content. The film entitled "Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth" is accessible online in several languages here: http://congojustice.org. In summary, our ability to marshal the generosity of our volunteers, the expertise and know-how of our key supporters and the technological expertise of our consultants have enabled us to advance our goals and objectives in spite of our limited financial capacity.

Friends of the Congo has achieved a great deal over the years. The top three achievements include:
1. Connected numerous frontline and Indigenous leaders and organizations to global networks and resources that have provided financial, material and intellectual support to their organizing efforts inside the Congo.
2. Sustained an over fifteen-year long awareness campaign (Congo Week & Congo in Harlem -occurs the third week of October each year - www.congoweek.org ) in which over 70 countries and 500 universities and communities have participated.
3. Produced an educational film (www.congojustice.org) about the historic challenges of the Congo and prescriptions for positive and lasting change that has been viewed by millions around the world and used by a broad range of institutions as a primer on the Congo.

What is next:
1. Mobilize greater resources for Indigenous and frontline leaders both in the Congo Basin Rainforest and the mining areas of the Congo.
2. Intensify our global education campaign to render the Congo cause as important today as the Free South Africa movement was yesterday.
3. Expand the platform available to Congolese leaders and organizations so that they can share their stories, establish lasting partnerships and mobilize greater support.

Financials

Friends of the Congo
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Friends of the Congo

Board of directors
as of 02/07/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Carrie Crawford

Friends of the Congo

Term: 2004 -

Paul Pumphrey

Brothers and Sisters International

Jeanette Tchouchan

Rhema Christian Center Church

Kathy Munakese

Ernst & Young

Carrie Crawfor

Crawford & Associates

Kwame Wilburg

Friends of the Congo

Samuel Yagase

GOVA

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/4/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/04/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.