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Project information

Empowering 1,500 families in DR Congo

The people of DR Congo have lived through the deadliest conflict since World War II. Five Talents will provide basic literacy and business skills training along with access to a safe place to save and borrow small loans, so that beneficiaries will have economic empowerment and freedom.

June 2018 - June 2021

Charity information: Five Talents

Five Talents logo
  • Need


    Decades of conflict in DRC has killed millions. As the country focused on conflict, building basic services was neglected. Education, water, agriculture, and health sectors particularly suffered. Currently, 7 out of 10 women in Aru are illiterate and innumerate. Rape has been a weapon of war and gender based violence (GBV) is common.

    Without business skills, a place to save and borrow small loans, families have no way to grow the businesses they rely on, empower women and rebuild their lives.


    We will provide basic training in literacy and business skills. We’ve seen our work succeed in other unstable contexts, such as post-conflict Karamoja in Uganda. Five Talents will help families identify, develop and increase their local resources.

    We will train gender based violence champions to combat violence against women. We know a literate and numerate woman is empowered to become a leader in her community and a woman who earns an income is empowered to be a decision-maker in her home.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improved household income through participation in saving groups and business training.


    » Mobilize the community to work together for learning and sharing by forming groups.
    » Through trained local facilitators, educate 1,500 members in basic business skills and the importance of savings.

    What success will look like

    We will demonstrate this through monitoring growth of savings. Growth of savings is a proxy for income growth and correlates with members being able to afford food, medicine etc.

    Aim 2

    Improved literacy and numeracy among adults and children.


    » Establish literacy teaching centres and recruit and train literacy and numeracy teachers.
    » Mobilise members to take part in the training by holding weekly training.
    » As income increases members will also be able to afford to send their children to school.

    What success will look like

    We will monitor changes in the literacy and numeracy of members after training, and changes in whether families can afford to send their children to school.

    Aim 3

    Growth of members’ businesses and income.


    » We will train members on basic business skills such as market research, budgeting and diversifying their businesses.
    » Members will be able to apply their skills and borrow small loans to invest in their businesses and boost their profitability.
    » Increased household income will lead to better nutrition and health care for the whole family.

    What success will look like

    We will track savings growth and the loans taken by each group. We will also collect case studies to demonstrate how loans are invested to grow businesses.

    Aim 4

    Female members will be empowered in the home and community.


    » Gender based violence is common in Aru so members will be trained as GBV champions to advocate against gender based violence in the community.
    » Female members will be encouraged to participate and actively engage with the savings groups.
    » Women and men will work together in savings and loans groups, improving gender relations.

    What success will look like

    We will monitored this through the Gender Based Violence Champions and surveys asking women about changes in their decision-making power and status in the community.

    Aim 5

    Community members begin to heal after suffering trauma during the conflicts.


    » We will offer trauma counselling services to support the community to cope with the consequences of conflict.
    » Members will be encouraged to actively participate in the trauma counselling available.
    » Members from different ethnic backgrounds will participate together in savings and loans groups.

    What success will look like

    Demonstrated through surveys and case studies with members.

  • Impact


    Based on experience with our programmes, hunger will reduce, relationships will be built across social and ethnic boundaries, literacy will increase, women will have more control over their lives and businesses will grow.

    We will measure change using surveys and case studies. We will measure food security and how many beneficiaries can read and write. The success of the groups will be tracked by the savings deposits and loans disbursed. Case studies will show growth of businesses and incomes.


    The biggest risk is the return of conflict in Aru. To mitigate this, there will be a focus on bringing people together from different communities and helping them build on the benefits of peace rather than returning to conflict. There will be trauma counselling as part of the members’ training.

    Another risk to the project is that we don’t raise enough money to support the project. To mitigate this risk, we have a fundraising plan in place based on successful Big Give appeals in the past.


    We will send a report to donors from the Big Give Christmas Challenge six months and one year after the appeal. We will also provide updates on the programme via our website, social platforms and our supporter mailing list.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £74,923

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      Amount Heading Description
      £13,788 Staff To employ two salaried staff to run the programme
      £22,002 Training Trust Group training, including capacity building of local staff and volunteer trainer per diems.
      £18,042 Capital costs e.g. laptop, desk, chairs, camera, mobile phones and vehicle for staff to travel to groups.
      £9,434 Aru office costs rent, electricity, water, fuel and admin and security staff
      £6,430 Monitoring and Evaluation Costs for the surveys of beneficiaries and reporting from staff
      £3,485 Five Talents UK Costs associated with monitoring and evaluation, reporting, etc of the DRC programme
      £1,742 Contingency Room in the budget for unexpected events

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Autonomous Research Charitable Trust £40,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Aru is in north eastern DR Congo and hosts communities fleeing from other areas of DR Congo and from neighbouring South Sudan. While Aru is currently peaceful it faces the same challenge as in most parts of the country; education, water, agriculture and health sectors have all suffered. There are limited jobs so most people are without a sustainable income. Gender based violence is common and most women are illiterate. While women do most of the work their lives are controlled by their husbands.


    Beneficiaries will be poor households living Aru, with the majority of members being female. Our needs assessment has found that 7 out of 10 women are illiterate and two thirds have suffered from gender based violence.

    The children of the members will also benefit as our experience shows that one of the first changes children experience is that they are able to go to school. Others in the community will benefit from the increased employment opportunities from the small businesses of members.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have over a decade of experience setting up savings, loans and business training programmes in East Africa. We have experience of working in post conflict communities such as in Karamoja, Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi as well as working in marginalised communities in Kenya and Tanzania.

    While humanitarian agencies are currently supporting those in conflict zones, Aru needs long term support to build their resilience, which we have the experience and commitment to provide.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Irene Nyambura

    Irene is the leader of the programme in Aru. Previously Irene worked in South Sudan implementing World Concern’s One Village Transformed programme.

    Rachel Lindley

    10+ years’ programme management of microfinance programmes. Will provide oversight, ongoing monitoring, and long-term evaluation of the programme.

"We must use the skills we have. Then others will help us to help ourselves. Together we can help our people have a better life, now."

Bishop Ande Titre, Diocese of Aru, DR Congo. The Bishop was addressing community leaders as we launched the programme.