The son of a teacher, Dieudonné Agaba (‘15) knew the importance of education from an early age. He also recognized the value of language as a learning tool and gaining access to knowledge and information. Even though studying in the metropolitan city of Kampala in neighboring Uganda was an option, Dieudonné saw that Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) offered exactly what he was looking for – English and Computer Engineering. But he also saw something special about this University in his home country.
“At UCBC, I learned to live in community, serve, and to really focus on work. It changed my way of viewing things. I learned to belong.”
Finding a sense of belonging at UCBC continues to shape Dieudonné’s work today. He serves as a Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist for Mercy Corps, an international organization tackling the world’s toughest challenges with lifesaving assistance and building resilient communities. According to Dieudonné, “everything that we are doing needs to promote community development and that is something that UCBC inspired in me as well.”
One of the things that drove Dieudonné into this work was the desire to ensure aid responds to the needs of the people. For too long, he witnessed critical aid mismanaged. Through UCBC, he developed both the practical and problem-solving skills that would help him improve database management procedures so resources were properly managed and benefited those with the greatest needs.
“When I send a report, I feel like I am sending the report from my community and I can make sure that they are satisfied with the aid and that their life is really improving,” he shared.
While working to improve the livelihoods of others through Mercy Corps, Dieudonné and some of his friends go a step further. In Goma, there is a consistent problem at local hospitals where patients cannot cover the costs of care and treatment. As a result, they end up having to stay in the hospital until the fees are covered.
“It can feel like a prison,” Dieudonné explained. “So we organized a program called Social Action for Hope where we contribute to a fund to help pay hospital fees for these patients so they can return home.”
For Dieudonné, UCBC is shepherding new leadership that the people are desperately seeking in Congo. These leaders think first about the community and look at challenges as opportunities for change – an opportunity to make a positive impact.
“When you see challenges, you identify them, and then say, ‘what can I do to address these problems.’ This is something I learned at UCBC.”