Written on the walls of many campus buildings at the Université Chrétienne Bilingue De Congo (UCBC) is the phrase “Being transformed to transform.” This statement captures so well the ingenuity, vision, passion and service to Christ that YECA leadership has witnessed across the entire campus community during our recent trips to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As part of a weeklong “campus conversations” program in 2014, Rachel Lamb and Ben Lowe had the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and staff in order to facilitate a shared vision for creation care across all aspects of academic and community life. In a country where biological conservation and human survival are pitted against each other in many of the ongoing conflicts, we found a University community dedicated to discerning how to practically love their neighbor by taking care of the land that they live on.
One specific outcome of that trip was a new evolving partnership between YECA's Climate Leadership Fellows Program and UCBC.
YECA’s Climate Leadership Fellows program is designed to train and equip developing Christian leaders who promote a biblical understanding of and response to the climate crisis on their campuses and in their churches and communities. One of the central components of the fellowship is the opportunity to develop a specific strategy and project for engaging the fellow’s campus, church and community around climate action.
Once meeting the bright and passionate students at UCBC, we recognized the growing potential to include two Congolese Fellows in our 2014-2015 cohort. Given these students’ leadership potential and unique vision for transformation within the DRC, we were excited to support the development of their projects and to establish a longer-term partnership with UCBC. Since that time, we have continued to be amazed by the work that inaugural fellows Faden and Jolie have done on their campus to work towards creation care and climate action.
During the Summer 2015, YECA leadership was invited to join UCBC students, staff and faculty on a three part trip to Keyna and the D.R. Congo. Due to the generous support of our ministry partners, we were able to join this team of creation care and climate change leaders and support them as they:
1) Established relationships with other regional creation care leaders at the Lausanne Creation Care and the Gospel Conference in Nairobi, Kenya
2) Engaged in natural science training at A Rocha Kenya’s Science Field Study Center in Malindi, Kenya
3) Developed and implemented creation care and climate action plans for their campus and local communities in and around Beni, DRC.
Throughout this trip we were able to spend time with Jolie and Faden, as well as meet the newest addition to the 2015-2016 Climate Fellows cohort at UCBC, Diane Kyanga. Over the next year, YECA will meet regularly with Diane, Faden and Jolie as they work alongside fellow members of the University's Creation Care Committee and Creation Care Volunteers student group to develop and implement their project goals.
We are so thankful to be included in the life journeys of our three UCBC fellows, and look forward to future opportunities for partnership with UCBC and the Congo Initiative.
YECA Leadership with the UCBC Climate Fellows