Q&A with Mr.Abel Moukolo, President Blue Cross CongoleseAbel MoukoloPresident Blue Cross Congolese
1. Why is the work of the Blue Cross important to you?
The context of poverty and great insecurity in which our country finds itself encourages idleness, leading to the use of alcohol and drugs. In addition to this: The lack of alcohol policy at a national level; The wide availability of alcoholic drinks of the congolese market : imports and local production (industrial as well as domestic); The great number of places to consume alcohol in the cities as well as in the countryside.; Aggressive advertising by the alcohol industry which does not respect international
conventions. The CBC is the only local NGO fighting against alcoholism and drug usage. It is also important for the CBC to raise awareness amongst the general population, in particular teenagers and young people, about the harmful effects of alcohol on health as well as the related social repercussions. This is why since 2014, and with the support of the IBC, we have been running a life skills and peer education project ‘Generation 5 S’ in Brazzaville. Acting under the supervision of the CBC, the Technical Coordination of Projects and Development Support (TCPDS) of the Evangelical Church of Congo (ECC) is the implementing body of this project. More than 15,000 teenagers and young people from Brazzaville have already been reached by this project.
2. Are you convinced of the impact of your work – if so, which aspects?
Yes. Many people contact the CBC to learn more about the harms of alcohol. This shows that there is a great need for information amongst the population and is an additional source of motivation to protect the population through the work of the CBC.
3. What was your happiest moment during your time with Blue Cross?
The recovery of a 17-year-old high school student. Raised by a single mother, he was left to his own devices/ abandoned, he felt compelled to join a gang through a friend in the neighborhood, and believed that he had found a proper family. Navigating between intoxicating beverages and narcotics, at the risk of his studies and to the dismay of his mother, he ended up becoming part of the gang. Concerned for her child, his mother approached one of the leaders of ‘The Sound of the Trumpets’ band to see how to resolve her son’s situation which was going from bad to worse. After being auditioned by the group leaders, the boy agreed to be supported and assisted. This support was financial, moral and emotional, but also spiritual (through our prayers). It was not easy but in the end, he came to his senses and changed course with the help of the members of the band. Today he is one of the most active members of the group and plays the baritone, bringing joy and happiness to his mother.
4. What is/was your biggest challenge in your work for Blue Cross?
The biggest challenge is to strengthen the legal framework concerning alcohol with a view to establishing a national and regional alcohol policy. A policy just like the tobacco policy advocated by the WHO which has been endorsed by all the countries in the WHO/Africa region.
5. Blue Cross in your country: What do you consider your most important project?
The most important aspect of the Blue Cross is advocating for the development of the capacity to take charge of people suffering from dependency through the creation of a suitable structure (treatment centre).