“Providing Places of Worship in Developing Countries” Graduates Forty
Georges Bonnet, Africa Southeast Area Director for Temporal Affairs
Forty recent graduates of Providing Places of Worship in Developing Countries are certified in a variety of basic construction skills and building disciplines. The 12-week program provides classroom learning and hands-on practical experience at the Kasa Vubu Stake Centre, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Many of the graduates are now employed or soon to be employed in construction related jobs.
Purpose of Providing Places of Worship in Developing Countries is to help those seeking to become self reliant and more employable. Two courses started in July to provide more training opportunities. Self enterprise development courses will also be provided to assist those who wish to start their own business.
Trainees learn correct construction standards and expectations of high quality and productivity required by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sponsor of the training. Graduates are more employable, because their skill standards are higher.
Providing Places of Worship in Developing Countries provides practical training in foundation layout and excavation, form work, concrete work, flat work, masonry and electricity. Trainees are provided a training manual developed by a team of instructional designers at Church Headquarters.
They are prepared to be employed in construction of Church buildings. There are currently two Church projects under construction in Kinshasa. About 20 members are employed on each project. All employed members are required to participate in the training course.
Elder L. Jean Claude Mabaya, Africa Southeast Area Seventy, presided at the graduation while bishops and stake presidencies attended in support of the graduates. Consultants and contractor representatives were in attendance along with the University of Kinshasa Dean of the School of Engineering. All were impressed with the training program and lauded its benefits and potential not only in and for the Church but for the country as a model worthy of emulation.
Elder and Sister Billings, who have years of experience in vocational education, provide classroom and vocational instruction. The project is headed by Eric Van Hauvermat, Project Manager from France, who brings extensive experience in construction and project management.
Bishop David H. Burton, former Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, championed Providing Places of Worship in Developing Countries following an Africa Southeast Area review in 2010.