Malembe Rise

Fostering education and community service in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

aka Giving Back to Africa, Inc.   |   Bloomington, IN   |


Malembe Rise is a non-profit organization dedicated to the long-term mission of developing teachers and educating young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In partnership with local Congolese educational institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), our goal is to empower Malembe Rise beneficiaries – through service-centered education – to become servant-leaders capable of taking control of their own lives while serving as change agents in their local communities and throughout the nation.

Ruling year info


U.S. Country Director

Sarah Castor

Country Director, The Democratic Republic of Congo

Dr. Jerry Kindomba M.D.

Main address

P.O. Box 2328

Bloomington, IN 47402 USA

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Formerly known as

Giving Back Africa, Inc.



NTEE code info

International Cultural Exchange (Q21)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

Secondary/High School (B25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the least developed countries in the world. DRC ranks last in the world in GDP per capita ($400) (CIA 2013). GBA is committed to focusing on DRC's new generation of young people. Without investment in an education that teaches children critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the DRC's children will continue to be open targets for exploitation and abuse rather than citizens and servant-leaders in their communities. The need for this project was determined through listening to the community, conducting research and working with our Congolese colleagues. Through ongoing observation and research with leaders in the Mpasa II community, we discovered that education and leadership development for students can serve as a solution to their problems. GBA develops ongoing programming that links what happens in the classroom to community issues that impact students' everyday lives.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth Empowerment and Leadership Curriculum

Malembe Rise's leadership development program serves as a model for the field of education. We address the lack of critical thinking, problem-so​lving, and leadership skills in Congolese young people through a connection between education and the needs and assets of the community. We believe that in order to be meaningful, education must be grounded in everyday experiences and challenges. Utilizing an action/reflection model, the curriculum is developed in the community through the participation of students, educators, parents, and local community leaders.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Sustainability Curriculum (2014-2018) of Malembe Rise was developed by students, teachers, and community leaders.

Malembe Rise’s long-term goal is to share its process curriculum in other community-based schools throughout DRC. According to lessons learned from our first partnering school, College des Savoirs (2011), the best way to scale up is to begin fostering relationships with other schools in Kinshasa’s Mpasa II neighborhood. Malembe Rise has partnered with two new schools, Lukunga Primary and Secondary School (2015) and Kapina Primary and Secondary School (2017).​

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Giving Back to Africa's education program goals are to empower and strengthen the resilience of young students and improve community knowledge and health through training a new generation of leaders who have the ability to think critically and problem-solve as a way to resolve real issues within their communities of Mpasa II and Kinshasa. Program goals include continual improvement of teacher and student peer-to-peer training, and enhancement of student and teacher knowledge about community health issues and how to address these issues, seeking to improve the community nutrition and address issues of malnutrition through the thriving Student Learning Gardens that were implemented in 2017 and continue to be maintained.

Our program goals also include education programs that help to prepare student leaders who have the ambition and will for opportunities to enter local and international collegiate programs, improve the local economic development, have successful careers in agriculture and reduce corruption in Kinshasa.

Giving Back to Africa (GBA) is a US nonprofit with a mission to enhance leadership education and teacher training in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). GBA works with three under-resourced partner schools (grades 1 through 12) to introduce a student-centered Education for Leadership and Development (E4LD) curriculum. Giving Back to Africa's E4LD model pairs servant-leadership skills training with a project-based learning (PBL) curriculum that focuses on real-world problems, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The PBL curriculum has been developed and tested at College de Savoirs school (CdS) near Kinshasa since 2011. Since 2011, teacher retention has improved and student enrollments have increased 300% over the past 2 years. In mid-2016, GBA introduced the E4LD teaching/learning model at the two new DRC partnering schools (Lukunga and Kapini) operated by En Classe LLC, a Dutch NGO. GBA's curriculum development and teacher training program now serves over 1000 students and 45 teachers. The E4LD encourages teachers to propose, develop, and share new modules, lessons plans and activities that meet the E4LD learning objectives. GBA provides training and guidance in this process, with the ultimate goal to develop skills that will be implemented after the initial training supports are decreased.

The Giving Back to Africa's (GBA) Education Model that has emerged from GBA's curriculum propounds five principal servant-leadership skills. These skills are premised on helping the children first recognize the assets around them, including their own ability to learn. Starting from a position of strength, the students then learn to (1) observe as they identify assets within and around them and community issues that matter to them in consultation with teachers and GBA staff, (2) research the identified issue, (3) analyze data gathered and consider how they might leverage identified assets to meet problems related to that issue; (4) propose and implement solutions to the particular issue through community service, and (5) reflect on their actions in order to improve future actions.

As the students learn these servant-leadership skills, they create the potential for a more peaceful, democratic, and economically prosperous Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). By working together on community projects, the students learn how to work as a team, treat others with respect, resolve conflict and disputes peacefully, and govern themselves according to self-established principles. As a result, these students exit secondary school with the leadership and interpersonal skills needed to strengthen DRC's democratic and economic development.

GBA's experienced DRC staff include 2 full time and 3 part-time staff who oversee and facilitate GBA's education programs. Our Program Manager, Dr. Jerry Kindomba has been working with GBA for 7 years, and he supervises all staff. Dr. Kindomba's education, experience and expertise guide the success of Giving Back to Africa's education programs.

· Doubled student enrollment at College des Savoirs school as a consequence of greater awareness in the area of GBA's unique educational approach.

· Over the same period, parent participation in Parent/Teacher meetings increased by 80%.

· Identified Teacher Learning Circle (TLCs) as the key component in developing an educational model that prepares teachers to conduct student-oriented and experiential and learning.

· Worked with teachers at CS to create a pre-and post-test evaluation leadership skill instrument piloted first for construct validity and then tested on the waste management (2012-13) and nutrition curricula (2013-14). In Jan / Feb 2015, GBA spent two months working with teachers to revise the leadership skill assessment tool incorporating new indicators that are now consistently used by all trained teachers in a bi-annual evaluation of leadership skills observed in students.

· In 2017 GBA's Program Committee held a retreat to refine and improve the existing Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (M & E). This improved the M & E Plan that was used during the US Teams M & E visit to DR Congo in February 2017 and will be implemented in a continuous improvement process over the duration of all future programming.

· Formed two new curricular partnerships with GBA's partnering organization called En Classe (a Dutch NGO in DRC). En Classe's partnering schools are Lukunga and Kapini Schools in Kinshasa.

· Conducted Observation Walks that started in March for 51 primary and secondary school students in the local community. During the observation walk, students visited many local workers in the community, observed these local workers during their daily activities and took notes about the materials and tools used for work. Subsequent observation walks have been implemented.

· Conducted a two-day Solar Energy Workshop for 266 students at College des Savoirs. Through the workshop, students gained knowledge about the principles of solar energy systems and practiced installation and operation of some solar-powered devices (fan, light, and radio).

· Conducted a Teacher's Learning Circle (TLC) in January for 33 teachers from the College des Saviors, Lukunga, and Kapini Schools where teachers shared their classroom experiences, challenges, and new techniques learned from waste management, such as separating biodegradable and non-degradable waste for composting. GBA has been facilitating monthly TLCs since 2016.

· Observed the development of several new garden plots in the community that replicated the practices demonstrated in the Students' Learning Garden.


Malembe Rise

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Malembe Rise

Board of directors
as of 07/06/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Brad Long

Young and Laramore

Term: 2022 - 2022

Brad Long

IT Management

Lauren Miller

Grant Thornton

Rebecca Siegrist

Early Childhood Education

Joel McMillan

Public Works

Amy Ziegert

Sales Executive

Natalie Ebaugh

Sales Executive

Danielle Buresh

Research and Evaluation Coordinator

Daria Vinchesi


Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/18/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


No data

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

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Sexual orientation

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