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The Mai Ndombe province

The area where Bilanga first will focus on is the Mai-Ndombe Province (127 465 km2), an area between a third and a quarter of Sweden. The focus will initially be on the villages along the Lukenie river and then expand down towards the river of Kasai and upwards towards the area around the Lokoro river, (see map).

Mai Ndombe was previously a part of the Bandundu province but the new constitution adopted in 2005 meant a new division of the country with 26 provinces instead of 11 as it was before which lead to that Mai Ndombe became a province of its own.
It lies about 500 km northeast from the capital Kinshasa. Despite the relative proximity to Kinshasa and great supply of fertile land, farmers grow mainly for their own use. As in many other parts of Congo are the main reasons for this is the poor transport network and outdated technologies and equipment (see Agriculture).

Poverty in the Mai-Ndombe area has increased considerably in the last 10-15 years. Since there are hardly any other jobs are agriculture and fishing the main job opportunity for more than 90 percent of the population. The difficulties to grow and sell a surplus lead to an increased poverty poverty, increased mortality and that fewer children now attend school.
The term Mai-Ndombe comes from the name of a large lake in the northern province named at Mai-Ndombe, which means "black water" in Lingala. Approx. one million people are estimated to live in the province. The vegetation is savannah mixed with rain in the south while the northern part is almost only rainforest. In the north-east of the province one finds also the national park "Salongo".