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Our story

AMKA in Swahili means “wake up”, “rise up”

We choose this name as a call to action and to an active and conscious participation. We are sure that the change starts with awareness and an objective view of realities do not encounter in our everyday lives.

AMKA was founded in 2001 by the meeting of two different cultures and the will to contribute to the real improvement of the living standards of populations living in the South of the world.

The association started to operate thanks to a small group of people moved by the realities of everyday living faced by their Congolese friends. This groups of determined people committed their support to improving the stagnant poverty adversely affecting lives of Congolese people. Afterwards, the group extended their activities to Guatemala too, where they’ve launched projects supporting indigenous populations

From more than 15 years we are standing beside men, women, and children living in the Southern Hemisphere who face extreme poverty, to transform their lives. We want to guarantee basic rights and, by working with effective actions, build perspectives for a different and an autonomous future.

We work in Congo (RDC) and in Guatemala, with integrated projects that enhance life’s essential rights:

WATER

HEALTHCARE

WORK

EDUCATION

Our approach

The approach at AMKA is totally based on the integrated development.

We believe that effective and definitive change in a community’s standard of living requires simultaneous action in a variety of sectors: education, basic healthcare, access to clean water and food, support of the local economy. We put schooling at the center of the change process because from education, personal and collective growth develop and produce change.

All AMKA projects originate from the needs expressed by the community. We believe that those who benefit from change must be the ones responsible for the change. For this reason, we work closely with communities, putting teachers, doctors, NGO activists, artisans and local agronomists at the center of our projects.

All our projects start with training, awareness and sharing activities with the beneficiaries in order to identify real and sustainable solutions.

Our team

The heart of AMKA is the community it has forged: volunteers, donors, partner organizations, and students.

Hundreds of people enthusiastically support the work of AMKA, both in Italy and in the countries of the South of the world we support.

Our community in numbers:

300

volunteers

26

workers in Congo e Guatemala

16.400

beneficiaries

“We found AMKA because we were tired of dreaming of a better world, so we rolled up our sleeves and committed ourselves to do something concrete.
We didn’t merely observe what was causing our disdain and indignation, but we acted and we did our best to intervene positively and definitively on living standards of all the communities where we operate.”

FABRIZIO FRINOLLI, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF AMKA

AMKA’s projects

in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Since 2001 we have operated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country characterized by a contrast between the potential natural resources available (agriculture, mining and energy industries) and the poverty shared by the vast majority of the population.
Indeed, the 2013 Human Development Report ranked Congo in 176th place among 188 countries. The lack of resources and opportunities available to everyday Congolese especially affects those in rural contexts.
AMKA operates in Mabaya, a rural province of Lubumbashi, with a program aimed at strengthening a cross-section of aspects fundamental to development: free access to healthcare and basic education, professional training and support to productive activities and to agricultural and rural development.
In Congo, AMKA commits itself to offer the tools and opportunities to rural communities to allow residents to “wake up,” as our name implies. We stand with locals to help them rise and self-develop as they build a just future full of opportunity.

Sectors of intervention:

ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

Kanyaka’s Healthcare Center, managed by local workers, is the only medical facility serving about 9.000 people living in the rural area of Mabaya. The Center, recognized by the National Healthcare System, offers basic services including laboratory analysis, vaccinations, prenatal and postnatal assistance. It also provides a specific program for HIV-positive patients who are monitored with diagnostic tests and treated with the antiretroviral therapy. The center features a maternity ward and a Nutritional Therapeutic Unit devoted to curing severe and acute malnutrition.
Healthcare staff members also manage mobile clinic campaigns whose mission is to guarantee access to healthcare services, even for those dwelling in the most remote villages.
AMKA built the Healthcare Center in 2001, and since then all our community guarantees that the Center and its programs continue to serve the Mabaya community.

BASIC AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

AMKA financial support allows Kanyaka and Mose schools to provide primary education to about 500 children per year. These are schools built by AMKA just after our arrival in DRC, underscoring our belief that education drives a community’s ability to flourish.
AMKA helps local families: parents through tuition scholarships and students with school supplies. We promote a good quality of teaching through trainings for teachers. We provide educational support activities to students with learning difficulties.
All the elements of our learning program aim to promote school participation and offer tools and opportunities that students need to improve their own futures.

SUPPORT TO ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

A higher income for families means having more resources to allocate for nutrition, care, education and improvement of housing conditions.

AMKA promotes startups of agricultural and artisanal activities by providing men and women with the education and training necessary to achieve business plans. This planning, coupled with micro-credit and rotating funds systems, prepares locals not only to create products, but understand the economics related to their work.

We believe that, in order to promote the social and economic role of women, we must strengthen their potential and ability to contribute, both to the improvement of living conditions within the family, but to the development of their communities.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND FOOD SAFETY

Specific programs provided through AMKA aim to strengthen local knowledge and competency in agriculture, often the main livelihood for these communities, by promoting crop diversification and rotation to improve soil fertility and guarantee better harvests. Promoting biodiversity supports environmental protection and nutrition. The productivity of lands and the crop diversification contribute to enriching nutrition, an urgent priority in an area registering alarming levels of malnutrition.

To address this need, AMKA created Committees for Women, teaching how to apply principles of healthy and balanced meals to monitor and prevent malnutrition cases.

ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER

Use of unsafe water and lack of hygiene are among the main causes of diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and malaria. These disproportionately affect children under 5 years of age. To face this tragic reality, AMKA helped develop 7 wells in Mabaya area and built management and consultative committees, whose members are residents of the village, and is developing regularly information and awareness-raising campaigns on the main hygiene standards and the correct use of water.

AMKA’s projects
in Guatemala

Since 2009, AMKA has supported self-development in the indigenous communities of Petén, a region in northern Guatemala devastated by a critical socio-economic situation, as a result of the bloody civil war that crippled the country for more than 30 years.

In these areas, where the context is plagued by the lack of services and opportunities, malnutrition, analphabetism and gender-based violence.

In the communities of Petén, AMKA supports the development processes led by the locals themselves and aiming to orientate the abilities and local resources to improve living standards and a just future.

 

Sectors of intervention:

EDUCATION

Thanks to the project “Scuola Popolare” (public school) supported by AMKA financial support and teachers’ training, it became possible for the youth from the communities of Nuevo Horizonte and Santa Rita to attend secondary school for free. Due to the elevated costs of transportation, books and school supplies, the majority of students cannot pursue a further education after finishing primary school. Along with leaving the communities educationally deprived, dropouts led to more teen pregnancy in the area. The project “Scuola Popolare” aims not only to disseminate knowledge, but focuses the educational process on how the students, both individually and within the community, can become catalysts of change, thus contributing to the welfare of their own communities.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

Starting from 2009, AMKA undertook a program aiming to promote the role of indigenous women of Petén and the affirmation of their rights.

Not only education, the key element of the women empowerment’s process, is encouraged, but AMKA also offers professional training and helps women create income-generating activities in the agricultural and livestock sectors, the main economic activities of this region. A permanent focus on education interdependence, and reflection among community members helps to tackle gender-based discrimination and to establish principles of equality and equal opportunity. The goal of this focus is to move toward full participation and integration of women in the community’s decision-making and socio-economic development.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD SAFETY

In order to decrease the high rates of chronic childhood malnutrition, AMKA supports rural development programs, whose aim is to introduce sustainable agriculture techniques that can improve the fertility of the lands and increase the production. These purposes have been achieved by promoting the diversification of agricultural production.

Thanks to the introduction of new crops and the planting of fruit trees, soil health and its productive potential have been restored, while a healthier, more varied diet has been guaranteed to the population. Through the creation of nurseries and the training of farmers, communities have acquired the skills and the tools necessary to carry out, both independently and sustainably, the development process achieving food security.

RESPONSIBLE AND COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM

Petén is one of the most important areas of pre-Columbian occupation, as well as the cradle of Maya civilization. Responsible tourism, that AMKA supports in the communities of Nuevo Horizonte and La Tecnica, is a source of cultural self-awareness and economic benefit for the communities. The relationship that they establish with tourists goes beyond the traditional tourist experience, and it allows tourists to fully understand the connection that these communities have with nature and history, through activities managed directly by the residents themselves.

We believe that the project has a positive impact on many aspects of the Petén communities. From a social point of view, it encourages both the conservation and the transmission of cultural and historical traditions, offering the chance to share the values and principles of equality, justice and solidarity which form the foundation of these communities, at national level. Economically, this tourism generates resources to reinvest in other projects aimed at expanding access to basic services throughout the region. From the environmental point of view, the relationship between the indigenous people and nature is an essential element of these communities’ history.  Consequently, its future economic importance requires its conservation.

AMKA’s projects in Italy

Together with the fieldwork and the everyday commitment to development just communities in the Southern Hemisphere, AMKA carries out activities in Italy to constant raise awareness among the civil society on themes as development cooperation and international solidarity. We believe that real change, where to our projects are heading, cannot entirely happen without the parallel growth of increased public awareness on our planet’s imbalances and contradictions, and on the existence of denied human rights in many countries of the South of the world.

By bearing our witness every day, we encourage the development of a networks of people and entities who help AMKA promote change toward a fairer, more just world

 

Sectors of intervention:

INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER TRAINING

Every year AMKA organizes workshops for those who want to realize an international volunteering experience. Through this training, hundreds of young academics and adults can study development issues with an in-depth approach, learn about the real situation in those communities served by AMKA, and prepare themselves for the experience in the local communities. Raising awareness is not the only aim of the training, but also to give the chance to many people to discover close up the local context and help these realities by participating, committing themselves and bearing witness to others.

GLOBAL EDUCATION

In order to share our goal of solidarity and responsibility among cultures, AMKA provides project of intercultural and global education in schools. We believe that new generations must expand their knowledge of inequalities in the world and strengthen their abilities to promote equitable change for all.  Given the tools and opportunities, paired with the youths’ energy and creativity, these younger students represent a major driving force of change.

We’ll see growing new responsible and supportive citizens, who choose the common good, the quality of life and the happiness of everyone, as target values. AMKA also supports courses focusing on the local languages and cultures, with the aim of stimulating exchange between populations to better understand the shared and unique cultures in our world

EVENTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS

Sharing information, tools to help, and direct testimonies is fundamental to make known to those raised in privilege the realities of those born in areas with few economic resources.  For AMKA, that means sharing the realities of Congo and Guatemala while encouraging more sustainable and responsible lifestyles for all.  For this purposes, AMKA organizes events and activities aiming to promote the principles and values of critical consumption, ethical finance and fair trade, which also represent useful instruments to facilitate dialogue, the discussion and the mutual exchange between cultures. Real change comes from the respect and valuing of differences, and a fair development is based on the affirmation of mole socially responsible behaviors.

 

CONTACT US

AMKA ONLUS

Viale delle Medaglie d’Oro, 201 Roma (ITALY)

+39 06.64760188 amka@assoamka.org

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