Swaziland has one of the world’s highest known rates of HIV and AIDS. MCC partners with Acts of Faith, which provides HIV and AIDS education to churches, primarily through a youth drama team. It also trains home care workers and facilitates support groups. Through a project of Global Family, home care workers identify orphans and vulnerable children for assistance with school fees. In addition to other peace work, an MCC regional peace network based in Johannesburg provides resources and support to people and congregations in Swaziland. The MCC South Africa office in Pietermaritzburg administers MCC work in Swaziland.
MCC partners with Evangelical Christian organizations in food security projects offering training and resources to farmers to encourage them to prioritize agricultural diversity. MCC workers support conflict resolution between northern and southern communities and between herders and farmers. MCC also supports public education about HIV and AIDS prevention through a partner organization. Through Global Family funds, MCC funds medical care and provides school fees for orphaned or fatherless children through a Chadian women’s organization. Since 2000, MCC has jointly administered its program in Chad and Burkina Faso through the MCC office in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital.
Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo has valuable mineral resources, political upheaval and war have driven millions of people into dire poverty. A major MCC project, Menno-Santé, includes two MCC workers and is focused on revitalizing Mennonite hospitals in western Congo, where most Mennonite churches are located. Through Menno-Paix, MCC works with the Congo Council of Churches and local congregations to provide aid in eastern Congo. MCC works to build peace, connect Congolese Mennonites with Mennonite churches in other countries and nurture an artisans’ group. An MCC worker assigned to facilitate Mennonite World Conference connections in Africa is part of the MCC Congo team.
MCC works in food security, food relief and peace through the Relief and Development Association (RDA) of the Meserete Kristos Church, a Mennonite World Conference church. MCC has a long history of famine relief and food security work in rural areas of Ethiopia. In rural Boricha and Awassa Zuria, farmers receive food or cash for working in projects to conserve soil and water or to build roads to bring harvest to market. MCC also supports a project to improve nutrition in a poor urban area of Addis Ababa. MCC assists churches in caring for people with HIV and AIDS, provides conflict transformation training, supports rural schools and student sponsorships and provides English teachers.
In arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, MCC supports food security and water projects, including terracing, seed banks, tree planting and sand dams that store water for people, livestock and irrigation. MCC supports food security efforts in Maasai communities; African peace efforts using elders and schools to build bridges across ethnic boundaries; HIV and AIDS awareness and care through the Kenya Mennonite Church; training and advice for artisan businesses; a worker for the Family Medicine Faculty at Moi University; relief in response to drought and famine; and, through Global Family, support for primary schools, teacher training and care for street children in central Kenya.
MCC has worked in Lesotho since 1973, seven years after the nation gained independence. Surrounded completely by South Africa, Lesotho’s economy is based primarily on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock. Many residents work in the mines of South Africa. In Lesotho, MCC supports the Transformation Resource Centre, which promotes the socioeconomic rights of people affected by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, an enormous endeavor to supply water to South Africa. MCC works in Lesotho through the MCC South Africa office in Pietermaritzburg. An MCC regional peace network based in Johannesburg provides support and resources in Lesotho.
MCC in Mozambique has a strong emphasis on improving agriculture and water supplies, including sand dam construction and hand-powered well-drilling. Focusing mostly on the central region of the country, MCC works in partnership with churches and Christian organizations on community development efforts, including community-based savings groups and HIV and AIDS prevention and care. MCC supports vocational training, secondary education for girls and preschool education in rural areas. MCC supports peace-building efforts and trainings with partner organizations. At time, it responds to disasters and emergency food needs through the Christian Council of Mozambique.
In Nigeria, where tensions related to religious, political and ethnic diversity have spurred violence in recent years, MCC supports proactive networks of Christian and Muslim peacemakers who also respond to urgent needs. MCC workers assist in public health at a Christian hospital and MCC supports training for traditional birth attendants to help reduce infant and mother mortality. MCC funds training in HIV and AIDS prevention and care through community-based partners and life-saving AIDS drugs. An MCC worker is involved in job training and support for deaf adults. MCC also supports education through a Global Family project with the Mennonite Church of Nigeria.
Rwanda continues to heal from the scars of the genocide and fighting of 1994. MCC funds and workers support Friend's Peace House, a Kigali-based Evangelical Friends organization which operates a peace library, helps former prisoners reintegrate into society by doing volunteer work and facilitates widely praised women’s groups whose members are drawn from sides that fought each other during Rwanda’s genocide. MCC funds also support a school for street children and adolescents and a variety of Rwandan churches involved in teaching peace and reconciliation.
MCC has worked in Somalia in areas such as education, health and peace, beginning in 1972. However, because of the conflict, violence and instability that has wracked Somalia for years, MCC personnel have not been able to visit partners or projects in Somalia for five years, and MCC currently has no program work within Somalia. MCC continues to explore the possibility of future work in Somalia. In response to the East Africa drought, MCC also is actively exploring ways to support refugees from Somalia in neighboring countries such as Kenya.
While South Africa has an emerging middle class and abundant natural resources, daunting economic inequalities remain from the apartheid era. Through Global Family, MCC provides assistance to preschools in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa’s poorest province, and to a child care center in Durban for refugee and inner city children. A Global Family project in Johannesburg reaches orphans and children with HIV and AIDS. Other projects support community health workers and HIV and AIDS care in Johannesburg, in Soweto and in rural Zululand. South Africa serves as a base for MCC’s regional peace work in Africa, including peace trainings for pastors and church leaders.
A 22-year civil war, which ended in 2005, left southern Sudan as one of the most impoverished regions in the world. People who fled during the war are returning home to find little infrastructure, such as schools or health care, to accommodate a growing population. Through “Coming Home: Sudan,” a long term campaign, MCC is helping to build schools, support education, assist farmers and promote peace in southern Sudan. Through long-standing partners such as the Sudan Council of Churches, MCC supports education and HIV and AIDS work. MCC also provides relief to people affected by famine and regional conflict, especially in the Blue Nile region and with internally displaced persons near Mundri.
MCC concentrates its work in Tanzania in HIV and AIDS and water, often in partnership with the Tanzanian Mennonite church. MCC works primarily in the northern half of the country. MCC supports partner organizations in holding support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS, educating community members, providing voluntary counseling and testing, providing home-based care and supporting families caring for orphans. MCC is currently assisting partner groups to build sand dams and develop other water procurement strategies, and is also promoting sustainable agriculture in association with this work.
MCC works in Uganda in peace-building, care for urban and rural people living with HIV and AIDS, community development and education. During a 20-year conflict with a rebel group, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), 2 million people were displaced, children were abducted, civilians mutilated and homes and farms destroyed. As people struggle to rebuild their lives, MCC workers and grants support mental health and trauma recovery work; advocacy and trainings for peace-building efforts of churches and interfaith groups; rural primary and secondary education, including through Global Family; and peace trainings for Iteso and Karimojong people whose conflicts date back decades.
MCC’s primary partner in Zambia is the Brethren in Christ Church, with work focusing on HIV and AIDS, food security, education, outreach to street children and peace-building. In drought years, MCC and the BIC church work together to ensure access to food, especially for families headed by single parents or children. The Global Family education sponsorship program has projects in rural Zambia and the capital city Lusaka, and MCC workers also teach in BIC schools. MCC partners with the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in the Africa Peacebuilding Institute, which attracts students from throughout Africa.
MCC partners with the Zimbabwe Brethren in Christ church, the largest Brethren in Christ church in the world, and other local faith-based organizations to respond to urgent needs, to spread warnings about HIV and AIDS and to care for people affected by the disease. MCC funds trainings in peace, conflict resolution, local advocacy and capacity building. MCC helps schools to reach out to orphans and other disadvantaged students, to develop businesses to support the education of their most vulnerable students and to improve teaching through teacher training, school development activities and teaching materials. Its efforts are concentrated in the Matabeleland South and North provinces.
MCC began work in Burkina Faso in 1975, focusing on reliable water sources for drought-stricken areas. With 91 percent of the population living in rural areas, the economic base of Burkina Faso is agriculture, yet much of its land is no longer fertile. Today, MCC supports several food security projects through the Office for Development Projects of Evangelical Churches. MCC supports churches in addressing HIV and AIDS, including efforts by youth and leaders in the Evangelical Mennonite Church to use dramas and sermons to warn people about HIV and AIDS. Global Family funds and an MCC worker support two other church projects to assist children orphaned by AIDS.
Burundi emerged from 14 years of civil war in 2008, but peace and reconciliation remain pressing needs. MCC partners with local Christian organizations that work in peace, reconciliation and community development projects with youth, former soldiers, widows and community groups in several provinces. An annual peace seminar draws participants from three countries. In a food-for-work reforestation project, thousands of tree seedlings have been raised, with laborers from nearby communities paid in MCC canned turkey, as well as maize and beans. Through Global Family and an MCC worker, MCC supports an elementary school in an indigenous Batwa community near the town of Mutaho.