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From the 14th to the 16th October 2015, the staff members of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) met at Ihusi Hotel in Goma (North Kivu) for their annual retreat. This annual meeting is the second one after that held in Bujumbura (Burundi) in January 2014, aimed at evaluating the GVTC achievements according to the Strategic Plan implementation as well as elaborating the roadmap for the coming years.
This session is held at a particular moment which seems to be encouraging for GVTC and its partners after the GVTC Treaty signing in Kinshasa on the 22nd October 2015, between the Line Ministers of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Rwanda, with the firm commitment of the Republic of Uganda to join the partners by signing the Treaty in the coming months. In addition, this Treaty signing was preceded by the three years grant to GVTC by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, through its Embassy in Kigali.

On the first day of the annual retreat, prayers were said by Mr. Pierre Ruhumuliza, in charge of Human Resources management at GVTC, while the opening remarks were said by Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the GVTC Executive Secretary who reminded participants the objectives of the annual retreat. As he said, the objectives of such a session consist of having a retrospective look at what has been achieved during the last two years and from that mark the institution’s future, after having made profit of some lessons learnt and realizing how the stakes are enormous for GVTC staff members and their Institution over the coming years. Indeed, according to Dr Georges Muamba, all GVTC partners are expecting much from this growing Intergovernmental organization. That is why the Executive Secretary urged participants to be more interactive, disciplined and courteous so that they can bring constructive criticisms to the debate, by asking their questions in an independent way and in esprit of conviviality. According to the Executive Secretary, this break does not mean that nothing has been achieved in the previous years. Not at all! There are significant results attesting that a work of high quality was conducted but in spite of that more positive results are still needed.

The evaluation of the roadmap made up in Bujumbura as well as lessons learnt from it were presented by Mrs. Grace Kyomuhendo, the Deputy Executive Secretary of GVTC in charge of Finances & Administration who gave an overview of the finances and human resources management. Her valuable presentation was followed by that given by Mr. Fidele Ruzigandekwe, GVTC Deputy Executive Secretary in charge of Programs who pointed out the implementation of the GVTC Strategic Plan in terms of percentage. In this regard, Mr. Fidele Ruzigandekwe mentioned challenges and difficulties, lessons learnt as well as future prospects.

On the second day of this annual retreat, Mr. Vincent Mukwege, the GVTC Communications Officer presented the context in which GVTC is currently working and communicating, the communication materials which have been designed, produced and disseminated, different meetings held with GVTC partners to facilitate communication and information sharing, communication tools currently in use at GVTC, namely promotional materials, the web site, social medias, lessons learnt and future prospects.

On the third and last day, new priorities and adjustments of the GVTC operational plan from 2015 to 2018, the new roadmap from October 2015 to 2018 were outlined by Mr. Fidele Ruzigandekwe, followed by Dr Georges Muamba highlighting ethical remarks likely to lead GVTC to its values which are namely excellence and performance. The presentation given by Mr. Zephirin Selemani, a Consultant from MDF Training & Consultancy (DRC) explained the monitoring & evaluation framework suggested to GVTC management and staff. The objective of such an approach is to ensure that GVTC is fully equipped to systematically generate, capture and disseminate knowledge through increased investments in terms of monitoring and evaluation, as a way to strengthen the impact and the effectiveness of its programs.

Closing remarks of the annual retreat were delivered by the GVTC Executive Secretary, Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, followed by Mr. Emmanuel Uwimana, Driver and Logistic Assistant, for the final prayers.

GVTC Communication Service.