Monday, February 14, 2011

howFar Focus Countries Top 2010 Global Hunger Index

Two of howFar Ministries and The How Far Foundations focus countries, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rate among the worlds highest Global Hunger Index scores.

Simply put, these two countries have some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the entire world. To further simplify the situation we could say that they go to bed hungry more often than 95% of the worlds population. (See GHI methodology below.)

"As the world approaches the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which include a goal of reducing the proportion of hungry people by half – the 2010 Global Hunger Index (GHI) offers a useful and multidimensional overview of global hunger. The 2010 GHI shows some improvement over the 1990 GHI, falling by almost one-quarter. Nonetheless, the index for hunger in the world remains at a level characterized as “serious.”

The result is unsurprising given that the overall number of hungry people surpassed 1 billion in 2009, even though it decreased to 925 million in 2010, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.-nine countries still have levels of hunger that are “extremely alarming” or “alarming.”

The countries with “extremely alarming” 2010 GHI scores – Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Eritrea – are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Most of the countries with “alarming” GHI scores are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The largest deterioration in GHI scores was seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo, largely because of conflict and political instability." (Source: Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German AgroAction); International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Concern Worldwide - 2010)

The GHI is a multidimensional approach to measuring hunger. It combines three equally weighted indicators:

1. the proportion of undernourished as a percentage of the population (reflecting the share of the population with insufficient dietary energy intake);
2. the prevalence of underweight in children under the age of five (indicating the proportion of children suffering from weight
loss); and
3. the mortality rate of children under the age of five (partially reflecting the fatal synergy between inadequate dietary intake and unhealthy environments).

This multidimensional approach to calculating the GHI offers several advantages. It captures various aspects of hunger in one index number, thereby presenting a quick overview of a complex issue. It takes account of the nutrition situation not only of the population as a whole, but also of a physiologically vulnerable group – children – for whom a lack of nutrients creates a high risk 10.0–19.9 serious of illness, poor physical and cognitive growth, and death. In addition, by combining independently measured indicators, it reduces the effects of random measurement errors.

The index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, though neither of these extremes is achieved in practice. Values less than 4.9 reflect low hunger, values between five and 9.9 reflect moderate hunger, values between ten and 19.9 indicate a serious problem, values between 20 and 29.9 are alarming, and values of 30 or higher are extremely alarming. (Source: 2009 Global Hunger Index)

howFar Ministries and The How Far Foundation are currently seeking partnerships with hunger and nutrition focused NGO's to make measurable progress towards improvement in Global Hunger Index scores in Burundi and the DR Congo.
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'"
Matthew 25:41-43

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bible Conferences at Gihara/Kigina, Rwanda

The primary work of howFar will always be the teaching of God's Word. Our desire is to see Bible-believing churches planted, the lost redeemed and the flock feasting on the Word of God, growing and maturing.
"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:17,18
On Saturday, January 15, two Bible Conferences were held on the howFar Ministries / Crimson Academy Campus.

Renee Maynard led a women's conference entitled, "What Every Christian Woman Needs to Know". She taught the women about what it means to be a Godly woman, wife and mother.

A few days after the conference Pastor Augustine's' wife, Betty, told Renee that one of the women who attended the conference was not a believer. "The mother was so moved by the teaching that she came to church the following Sunday with her five children on tow!"

In another classroom on the campus Mark Maynard led a men's conference. The topic, from Luke chapter 6, was "What is True Christian Character?"

Pastor Vinesti, who is the primary pastor at the Kigina/Gihara Church, is very enthusiastic about what God is doing in the village of 250 families. "People are changing", he said. They are leaving witchcraft, they don't get drunk anymore. They are coming to church and it is growing".

Kigina, the location of the church and school, is in the Gihara Sector of Rwanda. Population is measured by homes, or family units. The 250 homes can be multiplied by an average of 6 to arrive at a total population of approximately 1,500 Batwa. The inhabitants fall into one of three categories: Animists, cultural Christian (Catholic), and cultural Muslim. Only a small percentage of the Batwa attend any organized church or assembly.

But, according to Pastor Venesti, "That is changing. People are hearing the Word of God. The new school, Crimson Academy, is drawing people into the church because of the Bible teaching that their children are getting". A regular part of the curriculum is memory work through Scripture Union.

"After you came and did the conferences and preached in January thirteen people accepted Christ and joined the church", said Pastor Augustin. Pastor Augustin Niyonsenga is Overseer of the four howFar Ministries churches in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD'". 1 Corinthians 1:30,31

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meet the Staff @ Crimson Academy - Kagina, Rwanda

Henry Ngolobe - Head Master

Family Background
I was born January, 26th, 1985 in Jinja District, Uganda. My mother's name is Anyango Topister and my father's name is Egesa Christopher, who passed away in 2007. My family and I are Christians.

My Plans for the School
Produce productive, disciplined, God fearing children.
Provide guidance and counseling to teachers and children
Promote and instill leadership skills within the children
Conduct continuous professional development studies for teachers
Promote environmental conservation activities

Scovia Mukamutara - Teacher/Faith

Family Background
I was born in 1988 at Uganelo in a Christian family and I have 6 brothers and sisters; 3 boys and 3 girls in Umutara, the eastern province. My father died in 2004 and life has been difficult without him, but God is greater and He has become our father caring for each of us.

My Plans for the Children
I will teach the children to follow God with all their hearts. I will also educate and advise them in all areas of learning. I will encourage each child to be respectful and honest. In addition, I will teach them about the world and the possibilities they have.

Nsabimana Jean De Dieu - Teacher/Sports

My Family Background
My name is Nsabimana Jean De Dieu and I was born in 1984 in the Gasabo District Rwanda. My career objective is to be honest, sincere, pro-active and promote professional value that foster team work.

My Plans for the Students
I will teach mathematics Primary 3 and 4
I will teach science Primary 3 and 4
I will coach the Soccer Team
I will teach them good morals

Nalule Jesca - Teacher/Discipline

My Family Background
My name is Nalule Jesca and I am a born again Christian and single. I was born in Uganda in Mukono District, 1988 June 23rd. We are 8 in our family, four girls and four boys. My parents are all alive and well.

My Plans for the Students
I will teach mathematics
I will teach science
I will teach them English
I will teach them good morals

Benon Muhwezi - Teacher/Music

My Family Background
My name is Benon, I am 25 years old and I was born in 1985 in Uganda. My father's name is Paul Mbonigaba and my mother's name is Belina. My parents have a total of three children; 1 girl whose name is Joy and 2 boys including myself and Steven.

My Plans for the Students
I will teach them to know the word of God.
I will teach them about Rwandan culture.
I will teach them to study and work hard in school.
I will teach them great social skills.
I will teach them to be responsible.

Guy Claude Mugunga - Treasurer

My Family Background
I was born in September 28th 1990 in a family of 7 children; 3 brothers and 3 sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo. My father and mother were both Rwandans but they were in Congo as refugees because of ethnic conflict which was in Rwanda during the year 1959-1994. We come back in Rwanda after the genocide.
My Plans for the Students
Promotion independence and self efficacy within each child.
Promotion solution and practice based education methods that will help the children retain course material.
Instill within each child good time management skills.

Students Celebrate Opening of Crimson Academy

During the opening ceremonies of Crimson Academy, on January 14, 2011, students celebrated with traditional Rwandan singing, drumming and dancing.

The school, a partner project of Crimson Foundation for Education, howFar Ministries and The How Far Foundation, will sponsor a traditional competition dance team? The team will compete in the cultural exhibition at the local level with the goal of advancing to the national competition.

To sponsor the Crimson Academy dance team contact The How Far Foundation at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WAPI Water Project @ Mudja, DR Congo

One of the two core values at howFar is to "Love our neighbor as ourselves". We are doing that in rural northeast DR Congo in the village of Mudja.

Water is a critical problem in the area. When Mount Nyiragongo erupted in 2002 it covered the area from Mudja southward to Goma with its red hot lava flow. The catastrophe didn't end when the eruption ended and the lava cooled. The heat from the volcano evaporated all surface water, as well as, all subterranean aquifers. Today, water cannot be found beneath Mudja even by drilling the deepest of wells.

The villagers are forced to collect rain water through crude collection systems, gather water from small pools during the rains or walk the 25 kilometers round trip to Lake Kivu south of the city of Goma. The arduous 15.5 mile walk, nearly every day, is a dawn to dusk chore for at least one member of every family. But the walk to Lake Kivu is not the most daunting part of the task. It is the heavy load that they must carry back to the village that is exhausting. Each filled yellow plastic jerry can weighs a minimum of 40 pounds. For women the heavy load is carried on her back supported by a thick strap around the woman's forehead. Boys and men will carry two jerry cans. A load of over 80 pounds carried for several miles.

According to statistics the average person in the Unites States uses about 100 gallons of water per day. In Mudja, a person uses less that one gallon per day. That is for cooking, drinking, bathing and washing cloths.

Additionally, water can be contaminated in many ways. Ground water is often polluted by human and animal waste causing Cholera. Jerry cans are often improperly cleaned causing fresh water to become filled with harmful bacteria. The result is persistent sickness and disease in the village.

How Far Foundation is partnering with the Rotary Club of Buford/North Gwinnett to distribute Water Pasteurization Indicators (WAPI's), made by the Interact Club at North Gwinnett High School, to the village of Mudja. The simple devise shows when water has been pasteurize when it is submerged into heated water. For only 80 cents a villager can know that the water that they have worked so hard to bring to their family will not make them sick.

In January a howFar team delivered 500 WAPI's to the Batwa Pygmies living in Mudja Village.

The WAPI offers them a new peace of mind that they have not enjoyed before.

howFar seeks to "love our neighbor" by helping those who cannot help themselves.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crimson Academy Opens

"Students await the first day of school."
On January 10, 2011 Crimson Academy opened. The, still growing, inaugural student body of 150 began there education in four classes, Primary 1, 2, 3 and 4. A terrific celebration attended by local leaders, educators, NGO's, faculty and parents heralded the landmark event.

"The top sector official cuts the ribbon!"
Crimson Academy, a partner project of howFar Ministries, The How Far Foundation and Crimson Foundation for Education, will educate primarily marginalized Batwa Pygmy children within the Gihara sector. These students will have an opportunity that few in their community have enjoyed. According to local leaders, a small number of Batwa have ever attended Primary School and only two are known to have advanced to Secondary School.
"We know that education is very important, and the only reason we don’t go to school is because of the request that we put on shoes. We can’t buy shoes, we can’t buy uniforms. And another thing is that if we went to school we would fail to get anything to eat. Even me, I am a man with a family but if I was given the chance to go to school I would. The problem is that I have to support my family, and generally it is poverty preventing us from going to school, that is the hindrance." (Source: Minority Rights Group International 54 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT, United Kingdom. Interview with Patrick. March 2008)
The goal of howFar is two fold. howFar Ministries will educate a generation of Christian Batwa who will take the gospel message to their people group of nearly 100,000 throughout Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and DR Congo. The How Far Foundation seeks to break the long cycle of poverty and oppression by educating the Batwa.

"A wonderful transformation that has filled the village with excitement. The same beautiful children are in the photos below"

"Primary One"

"Primary Two"

"Primary Three "

"Primary Four"
Several weeks ago one Batwa father from Gihara/Kigina who was asked whether he would send his children to the new school replied,
"Learn what? We did not go to school and we are here. The children need to be with us and work. They go for water. If they go who will do their work?"
In spite of his misgivings the father relented and enrolled his children in Crimson Academy. In part, because the required registration fee was only 1000 Rwandan Francs - $1.70 which included the schools uniform. Unlike other primary schools in Rwanda, which charge tuition, Crimson Academy asks the family to contribute only what they feel that they can afford.Just two weeks into the school year the father came to the school leadership and said,
"I have seen such a change in my boy. He is learning of things that we have never heard of. Now I would sell everything that I own to keep my child in this school!"

"Crimson Academy Campus"
Crimson Academy will be unique in another area as well. It will be an English language school from Primary 1 throughout. Most don't begin teaching English until Primary 3 or 4. Rwanda's government said adieu to its colonial national language of French opting for English in the last few years. "The vast majority of our students will never know enough French to speak it. They will know English which will give them an advantage in the business community", said one school official.

The 6 acre howFar Crimson Academy Compound, in Kigina/Gihara, will be further developed in the coming months. Four additional classrooms and an office are needed to prepare the school to offer the full plan of Primary 1 through Primary 6.

To make a tax free donation to the project Click Here

Two Sisters

Maria and Shantari Mulikatata were befriended by some of the women from our Kigina/Gihara Church. The women knew that the two sisters were living in a very bad situation and were deeply concerned for them. They prayed that the sisters would be delivered from it.

Maria and Shantari's parents are both witches. Both have cast many spells upon their daughters asking demons to take them. The parents believe that if a demon, or devils as they call them, will take control of the daughters it will bring favor to the family and they will become wealthy. It is a very common deception though out Africa.

"We were continually bothered by devils", the sisters said. I can't imagine what that means but the Christian women of Kagina do...and they were frightened for Maria and Shantari.

The women from the church talked with the sisters and finally brought them to church. When we asked if anyone needed prayer they both came forward (photo attached).

Sunday, January 19, the two sisters were called from eternal darkness into the marvelous light.

In the three weeks that have followed, although the parents still attempt to cast spells on their daughters, they both confess that, "We are no longer bothered by devils".

In the US we often fail to see Satan's work. He is much more crafty and subtle here. We are callous to his ways. Yet, in much of Africa where life is simple, the people ignorant and living in darkness, they can see what we cannot. They can see the evil one. They see evil and they see good and they know the difference. Sometimes they choose to ignore it. Sometimes they choose to embrace it. And sometimes...the gospel comes to them and they are freed from it.

"Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you". James 4:7

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Corodina"s Faith

Last July I visited our church plant at Gihara/Kigina, Rwanda. After a great ceremony to celebrate the first service in the new building, and the preaching of God's Word, I asked if anyone needed prayer. It has become my practice to pray for each person individually based on their specific need or request.

Several people came forward. Some to repent and receive Christ, others for strength, and some for healing. Corodina was one of the women that Pastor Augustin and I prayed for that day.

I met Corodina again while at Gihara/Kigina just a few weeks ago. Here is her testimony.

"Before you came to Umudugudu wa Kagina (Village of Kigina) I had a very terrible pain in my leg. It was so bad that I thought that I was going to die. It would not go away. It was a big illness. I went to witches and doctors to help me. They all said go home with your money and die. We cannot help you.

When death was ready to kill me the people of God came to my village and prayed for me. Now I don't have any problems. Thanks God I had an illness that could kill me but now I am alive!

Thank you. Praise God!"

Here is Corodina's testimony in her own words. (Interpreted by Olivia, the first member of the church at Gihara/Kigina.)

There was a time, not to long ago, when Corodina did not believe in God. She did not go to church. She believed in witchcraft.

Now she is saved by grace and she has been healed by faith.

Corodina is an active member of the church at Gihara/Kigina, Rwanda planted by howFar Ministries in 2008. She is now the cook for the church and our new school, Crimson Academy.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
James 5:13-16