St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bukavu has been supported over the years by two nonprofit organizations. Project Congo is one, and the other is an Italian nonprofit called Con Vista Sul Mondo. In many ways, Con Vista Sul Mondo is similar to Project Congo. It is an all volunteer nonprofit with no paid personnel. It has a medical focus and supports hospitals. When volunteers travel to St. Vincents, they, like us, pay their own way and do not use donor funds. They have a budget that is in the same ballpark as Project Congo. They differ in that they have supported St. Vincents in ways we have not (or not been able to). They have a wider range of volunteers including dentists and pharmacists. And they have hosted St. Vincent doctors in Italy to train them to perform complicated gynecological repairs.
Con Vista Sul Mondo has a long history with St. Vincents. They provided the funds for the main building almost 20 years ago. More recently they provided funds to build a maternity unit. That building is not completed, but the first floor is functional. A volunteer dentist with Con Vista traveled to Bukavu with equipment and supplies and set up a dental clinic. Then Con Vista funded several St. Vincent employees to travel to a hospital in Bujumbura, Burundi for dental training. A volunteer pharmacist with Con Vista set up a compounding lab at St. Vincent, and trained at St. Vincent pharmacist to compound creams, salves, and drugs. This reduces cost significantly and gives St. Vincent instant availability to medications.
At the urging of Dr. Jeff Mibi of St. Vincent’s, the Project Congo board decided in Q4 of 2015 to enter into a Consortium Agreement with Con Vista Sul Mondo and St. Vincent’s. This agreement simply states that the three entities will strive to partner on projects together. It does not bind us legally to participate in anything. But it is a legal declaration that we intend to discuss and explore opportunities to work together. Having discussed and signed this agreement, it is unlikely either Project Congo or Con Vista Sul Mondo will independently start a project without discussing it first with the other. This alone will prevent each of us doing things that might overlap and waste resources. And the prospect of partnering means we may be able to accomplish something neither of us could alone.