South Kivu in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has a history of civil war, violence, and the use of children in combat. While the task is daunting, there are former child soldiers and community members in South Kivu who are working to reintegrate child soldiers back into Congolese communities, empower them with a sustainable future and prevent the future recruitment of children into the militias. This ForgottenSong project entitled “Off the Mountain” has a specific, two-fold aim to provide a sustainable source of income for those working toward these goals of prevention and reintegration and for the families which choose to adopt the children and youth into their families from the fighting groups.
Goats are rugged animals which thrive well in the harsh DRC village environment. As well, they reproduce quickly, allowing for the project to expand rapidly and into more and more villages where former child soldiers and vulnerable populations live.
As more goats are born, the project expands and reproduces. However, in order to protect the project from militia raids and theft, the goats are divided over entire villages and are placed in the care of individual families and not all in the same place where they make an easier target.
As the goats grow and reproduce, they can either be granted to other families and villages with the same goal of child soldier reintegration, or can be sold to diversify the assets of those working to empower the children and youth with an education, vocational training, or to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in the future.
ForgottenSong was started in 2009 with the recognized need for sustainable economic peacebuilding as an expression of God’s love for others in hard-to-reach locations. ForgottenSong aims to sustainably and reproducibly impact communities in war-torn countries through community-led small business initiatives which build solidarity and capacity for change. It is our aim to impact war-torn countries worldwide through economic peacebuilding. ForgottenSong also founded The Praxis Conference, an international conference aimed at bridging the gap between scholars, NGOs, the faith community and social entrepreneurs for the sake of effectiveness in peacebuilding.