First Rotary Peace Pole planted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

January- 2023

Dear Rotary Clubs of Blackheath, Taree and E-Club of Greater Sydney and Peter Clapinski, invaluable Rotary Peace Pole plaque producer!  Bonjour (good day) from Africa! Our RAWCS/HandUp Congo team have completed our three-week training and project evaluation mission and are beginning to head homeward. 

I thank the team of Dr Etwell Mari (Perth WA), Dr Grace Maano (Taree NSW), Dr Rebecca Furaha (DRC), Fergus Ewington (NSW) and Kevin Hobgood-Brown (NSW) for their skillful obstetrics emergency and visual storytelling training along with project evaluation + involvement in every other phase of our action-packed program. All were superb ambassadors for Australia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) collaboration.

I could not go another minute without sharing these pictures (please scroll down) of the first Rotary Peace Pole to be planted in the DRC; a vast nation of more than 70 million people. After discussions with local community members and city authorities, the local Rotarians chose the town’s busiest intersection.  Wow!  We had quite a crowd! As you will see, the local community came up with a design that suits their context. You are welcome to use these on your club Facebook pages or in your bulletins as you see fit. Grace has also posted a fun selection on her Facebook page Team photographer, Fergus also took photographs.

Thank you so much to our fellow Aussie Rotarians, along with Rotarians from Ekanga Mbandaka and Grand (big) Equateur clubs, for collaborating with us on the project. The ceremony was held on January 19 in Mbandaka, capital of Equateur Province. The Mayor attended, and gave brilliant remarks on how special and important this initiative is and how much he hopes it will result in meaningful conversations throughout the province and beyond.

Here is a translation of the Ekanga Mbandaka (District 9150) president Blaise Bonkangu’s message of thanks to all: “Thank you very much for this recognition! it was a great pleasure for us to share with you and the Australian delegation the joy of the inauguration of the first pole of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to show you the love of a job well done which characterizes the maturity that has reached the Rotary club Ekanga-Mbandaka, the fruit of your imagination. We remain very grateful to your benevolence and willingness to serve the Congolese population in general and that of the Equateur province in particular.”

I am hopeful that some of you will be able to meet Congolese Rotarians in May-2023, at the Rotary International convention in Melbourne. Let me know if you will be there! For this or other information about the DRC Peace Pole Project and our recent trip, please contact me on

With appreciation for your support of this peacebuilding initiative! –  Lucy Hobgood-Brown

HandUp Congo and Rotary E-Club of Greater Sydney/District 9685 Celebrating 18 years of Congo collaboration!
‘Building a healthy Congo’- RAWCS Project 47 2015-16
‘Lotumbe Community Development’- RAWCS Project 20 2013-14