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Examples of Connexio Projects

Leadership training is a big challenge in Cambodia
The UMC supports families in poor regions like the Mokra Mountains in Albania
Breeding llamas in Bolivia is one of the integrated agricultural projects.
“Lechería de la Solidaridad” is an activities centre in Buenos Aires for neglected children and teenagers.
“Jeunesse pour Christ” is the youth group of the Methodist Church in the DR of Congo
The “Miss Stone Centre” in Strumica (Macedonia) provides a food-delivery service,
The residence in Tunis offers female students a supporting environment.

You can find examples of Connexio’s diverse work under the following links. To get hold of the complete project list, please contact the Connexio office. Alternatively, you can view it and download it online on the Connexio website.

 

Scholarship programmes in Africa and Latin America

Connexio finances scholarships for current and future leaders of partner churches (masters, post-graduate studies, PhD). Many benefit from this programme, including leaders of theology schools and development projects, as well as those in health service administration. This scholarship programme gives future leaders the opportunity to pursue a qualified career within their own country.

 

Church planting and outreach in Cambodia

There are a number of former Cambodian refugees that converted to Christianity during exile. Since returning to Cambodia, some are now evangelising and planting churches. There are already more than 150 Methodist Churches in the country. Leadership training and church infrastructure (including housing for pastors) is however a big challenge for these young, fast-growing churches. The United Methodist Church in Cambodia require financial support to:

  • reimburse church members working for the church
  • translate and print Bibles and hymnbooks.

Connexio helps to fund salaries for the Methodist church leaders in Cambodia and finances expansion of infrastructure, e.g. new buildings, furniture and hymnbooks.

 

Theology training in Latin America and Africa

Connexio supports various different theology institutions in Latin America and Africa. These institutions aim to provide local churches with qualified church leaders and theologians to work within the church and in the mission field. Here are a couple of organisations co-financed by Connexio:

  • The theology institute ISEAT (Instituto Superior Ecuménico Andino de Teología) in Bolivia
  • The Latin American Bible University in Costa Rica
  • The University of Mulungwishi in the Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo.

 

Facilitating access to education for women in Bolivia

In Bolivia it is mainly the women who cultivate the fields, trade, bring up the children and sustain the family. In low-income families, women are nevertheless often denied access to a good education, restricted by their lowly “daughter” status. To empower these women to make a positive difference for themselves and for those around them, the Bolivian Methodist Church runs a women’s charity that offer a scholarship programme.

32 women from low-income families receive a university scholarship every year. These young women have the chance to study medicine, law, a business course or get a qualification in a skilled trade. Not only the women but the church benefit from the programme; these qualified women are becoming the potential future leaders of a variety of different ministries. There are already well over 100 women who have graduated or gained a qualification since 2008.

 

Providing salaries for pastors in Central Europe/Balkan countries

There are around 150 people working for the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Central Europe and the Balkan countries. Many people in these countries are faced with poverty, unemployment and migration. The UMC tackles these issues by evangelising in word and deed, their work far surpassing the boundaries of the church. Connexio also helps church members struggling to financially support their Methodist pastors.

 

 

Growth of the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Albania

While around 60% of Albanians live in villages, many leave for the city or abroad in search of a better quality of life. The UMC, who are still new to Albania, are therefore mainly working in the growing cities of Tirana, Pogradec and more recently Elbasan. The UMC does not, however, neglect the people in the Mokra Mountains (Bischnica and surrounding areas). The church leaders do not only lead church services but also try to practically tackle the local social challenges. An example of this is by providing sewing courses for women, providing them with the opportunity to sell colourful bags so as to help support their family. The UMC also teaches families from the mountain regions to cultivate fruit.

 

 

Youth work in the Democratic Republic of Congo

“Jeunesse pour Christ” is a youth group in the DR of Congo, which organises “swiss style” youth camps. The youth and young adult leaders of “Jeunesse” often haven’t had access to any relevant training. Connexio supports “Jeunesse pour Christ” to get these young leaders the training they require.

 

 

Lechería de la Solidaridad, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Lechería de la Solidaridad” is an activities centre where neglected children and teenagers can find a loving support network. The centre encourages these young people to stay at home so as not to become street kids. Lechería offers the youth an alternative by getting them to finish a basic education. The centre also further aims to support the children’s parents who are often overwhelmed with the responsibilities of parenthood. Lechería are there to listen to the parents, advise them, offer them material help and the opportunity to pursue further education. The centre was founded by the swiss United Methodist Church pastor Erich Allenbach, now retired, who still continues in his involvement. Connexio helps to finance this project.

 

 

Hospitals in Kapanga and Kabongo, DR of Congo

The Methodist Church runs hospitals in the areas of Kabongo and Kapanga, the former with 90 beds, the latter with 150. These hospitals have a nursing training college, a leper treatment centre and more than 40 clinics in the surrounding villages. The Kapanga and Kabongo hospitals offer the only possibility of getting medical care for an enormous catchment area. The patients often travel on foot for days to reach the hospitals. Even so, every year the hospitals manage with the most basic equipment to deliver hundreds of babies, to treat over 10,000 sick, as well as perform minor and major operations.

 

 

Health and agricultural development in Cambodian villages

The United Methodist Church (UMC) in Cambodia run small community projects, such as:

  • building rice storehouses
  • setting up livestock breeding programmes
  • establishing diversified eco-friendly agricultural methods adapted to climate change.

The UMC gives community leaders relevant training to enable them to instruct their communities themselves. An example is in Okroch, where the village community were able to reinvest profits from their first fish-farming project. The village have now been able to build a simple wooden chapel and send their children to school.

 

 

Integrated development in the Altiplano, Bolivia

As urban migration increases, the traditional farming methods of the cultures in the Altiplano are being abandoned, giving way to a rising number of illnesses and pests. The excessive use of chemical products is having a destructive effect on the sensitive ecosystem of the Altiplanos. The Bolivian Methodist Church, in collaboration with the rural population, are therefore developing various small, integrated agricultural projects. Their aim is to optimise harvests without damaging the ecosystem. Connexio supports this project.

 

 

Female student residence in Tunis, Tunisia

Subsaharan women studying in Tunisia are often confronted with xenophobia and exploitation. To tackle this issue, the United Methodist Church have set up a female student residence run by the Congolese couple Freddy and Sylvia Nzambe. The residence offers female students a supporting and encouraging environment. All female students are welcome, regardless of their religion. The property was renovated two years ago and is now also being used as a christian encounters centre.

 

 

Meals-on-wheels and individual social support in Macedonia

Since 2000, the “Miss Stone Centre” in Strumica provides a food-delivery service, bringing 5 hot meals a week to around 120 people’s homes (soup, main course, dessert). Some of these individuals  live in poverty and isolation. The “meals-on-wheels” programme can provide clients with someone to talk to and practical help in chores. The Miss Stone staff are often the only contact these people have with the outside world. This programme succeeds in relieving hardship, improving quality of life and awakening hope.

 

 

Migration: reducing poverty, supporting refugees

Connexio puts a lot of focus on migration issues:

  • various United Methodist Church (UMC) partner churches provide emergency relief for refugees, e.g. in Macedonia, Serbia, Chile and the DR of Congo.
  • Several UMC churches in Switzerland and France house migrants and collaborate together with migrant groups and churches, e.g. church services and other events are made multilingual.
  • Partner churches in developing countries help to decrease their community’s need to migrate by improving their quality of life.

 

 

Connexio financially supports many of these projects and also organises meetings between migrant and swiss church leaders, encouraging them to share their experiences of migration.