I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a community where most families live below the poverty line. In many cases, parents have to choose who goes to school. Political instability combined with civil wars and a high level of poverty make it difficult for parents to pay for a proper degree. In my own experience, I was only able to complete high school.
Through the generous giving of missionaries, I was able to complete graduate studies in Congo and a PhD in Pastoral Theology in South Africa. I usually refer to myself as a “Mission Kid.” Matthew 25:31-46 comes to my mind in connection to donors who have been so faithful to the Lord. The scripture concerns the last judgment where faithful ‘donors’ will be rewarded for “whatever they do for one of the least of these brothers…”
This also applies to DAI in Francophone Africa. Because of financial support from donors, we celebrate the French-speaking MAOL (Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership) growing from one country to eight and from one university to nine in just 10 years.
When the MAOL started in 2004, I was working as Academic Dean/Provost of Katanga Methodist University. A group of staff members, myself included, tried some of the DAI courses before offering the program at our university. The sample alone blessed me!
The courses have transformed lives and improved ways of leading. For example, two former government Ministers in Central African Republic expressed how happy they were to strengthen their leadership skills and to openly reflect with classmates on what went wrong while they led the country.
Another of the many examples comes from the Vice-Chair of Senate in Burundi. I supervised his thesis this year in which he evaluated the political leadership in his country with a view to build effective leadership. This thesis was highly valued and well received during his public defense of it.
I strongly believe that God is actively at work through DAI in Francophone Africa and I look forward to the next 10 years of the MAOL.
Author: Dr. Jean-Marie Nkonge, is the DAI Senior Consultant for Formal Education in Francophone Africa. Since 2007 Dr. Nkonge has provided expert oversight of the operation and expansion of the MAOL program in French-speaking Africa. He also serves on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.