Kasereka (Paul) Lughembe
Lac Kivu is located in the African Great Lakes region and forms the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Rwanda. In the DRC’s capital city of Goma, the lake is the direct source of drinking water—but it is not safe for drinking. Some residents treat the water with chlorine tablets when available, while others face harassment in fetching water from Rwanda. The lake also provides fish, particularly sardines, that provide the residents of Goma with a great source of animal protein and economic activity, as the nearby Lake Edward is overexploited and unproductive. The lake also contains about 300 billion cubic meters of carbon dioxide, much of which enters the lake through volcanic chimneys. The Congolese authorities have plans to exploit the methane gas to produce electricity to supplement its very low power supply. However, the risk of explosions are of great concern as they could severely damage the ecological balance of the lake that is of vital importance for fishing communities. Lac Kivu DRC Waterkeeper raises awareness and advocates for authorities to take action to protect the lake, its resources, and its communities.
Paul Lughembe is a vocal advocate for the people of Lac Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He grew up with a love for nature and swimming in the Virunga National Park near Lake Edward—a paradise far from water and air pollution. In 2015, Paul created an NGO, Barbara asbl, to promote fundamental human rights, including to life, education, and water. Today Barbara asbl is one of North Kivu’s most active civil society organizations holding government accountable. In 2013, Paul was granted a medal of recognition by the World Health Organization (WHO) General Director for his advocacy, investigations, and sacrifice in fighting tobacco companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo—where rules of laws are flouted by powerful polluters of the environment. His work contributed to the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Paul finished his secondary education in biology-chemistry and graduated in 2009 from the University of Goma with a major in International Relations. In his spare time, Paul enjoys playing the harmonium, an instrument he learned to handle when he was 10 years old in his Baptist church.
Barbara Center Compound, Kabasha Avenue, N° 062,
Q. Ndosho Quarter,
Commune de Karisimbi