Meet Mike – our mentee from the DRC

One of AquaFed’s highest priorities is supporting the development of young people in the sector, both professionals and activists, which is why we are mentoring a member of the World Youth Parliament for Water from the DRC.

Mike Mukundi, a young activist from civil society in Kinshasa, is our first mentee and we are proud to be ‘walking the walk’ on youth development by directly supporting him on an initial 6-month programme.

Our plan is to guide him as he works through the excellent Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Course on building careers in water and climate. Our thanks particularly to the International Secretariat for Water for connecting us with Mike and for organising the course.

We were fortunate to meet Mike and spend some time with him at the World Water Forum in Dakar. We were struck by his determination to improve DRC and his energy, but also his humility and desire to learn new skills.

AquaFed has been proudly supporting the World Youth Parliament for Water and also now the youth groups working under the UN1FY banner to campaign for action and a Water Pact at the UN 2023 Water Conference. There will be more details on this in a few weeks.

But for now, here is more about Mike, in his own words.

Please tell us something about yourself. I am MUKENDI NDJONDJO Mike, young activist of the Congolese civil society (DRC), member of the World Youth Parliament for Water, in charge of activities of the NGO Health and Education for All.

Learning and increasing my knowledge about water issues has always been a priority for me; I consider it of major importance. My greatest motivation lies in the fact that the DRC is rich in fresh water potential, yet the local population does not fully benefit from it due to the lack of involvement of the youth in this sector.

Why are young people so important to water? Water is life, and youth is the future of tomorrow. Young people must be initiated now to be involved in the sustainable management of water resources. We are strong and bright, we want to change the world and this would only be possible if we are involved in the management of water and environment issues.

During the awareness-raising activities were incredibly strong, we go around the neighbourhoods and communities without getting exhausted. This strength, both mental and physical, is a major asset for human society. However, it is noticed that few young people address the water and the environment, they think that it is reserved only for professors of universities and scientists and they launch themselves more in the trivialities by lack of formation and information. Therefore, it is necessary to orient them.

Have you been involved in any water projects? I have integrated several organizations working on projects addressing water issues; thus, I had the opportunity to work on projects such as WOTE MAJI SAFI NI AFIA which was selected at the School Lab level in France, which is currently seeking funding in collaboration with the Health and Education for All NGO. I had the opportunity to be part of the project design team, and participated in data collection. I participated in water hygiene awareness activities in a large neighbourhood in Kinshasa. I also worked in an awareness project on water protection and climate prevention in collaboration with the NGO Mouvement des Jeunes pour la Protection de l'Environnement de Kinshasa.

This project is precisely in a sensitive area, where anything can happen at any time, it is the East of the DRC which is a region regularly threatened by wars. This instability forces the population to flee from time to time into the forest to save themselves from danger. Once the population returns to its stronghold, living conditions become difficult and access to clean water becomes a major problem. The project aims to implement a water drilling system to allow the population to get water safely. My role was to analyse the problem of the population and to establish the different methods to be used to achieve the realization of this project.

Please tell us about the PCJE (Congolese Youth Parliament for Water) This will soon be set up, which is in the process of being implemented, because the processes are underway. This will be a youth structure that will advocate for water issues throughout the DRC. As president of the structure, I will oversee coordination of all activities related to the projects that my team and I will have to compete to solve the problems caused by water-related diseases and water scarcity and to initiate other youth in the water sector.

Being an active member of the WCYP, I plan to get involved in the WCYP by creating a chapter of the WCYP at the local level, join a chapter of the WCYP at the regional level, participate in different activities that it will organize and raise awareness of water issues among young people in my country and the world.

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