As a consequence of more than 25 years of ongoing conflict, the social and economic structure of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been weakened. In this context, women especially hold a vulnerable position. Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie is contributing to rebuilding a social structure where gender equality is recognised and the environment is beneficial for the full participation of women and girls.
€500,000 in 2020
Violence and vulnerability
After decades of crises, wars and political, economic and social divides, plagued by quasi-institutionalised corruption, DRC has entered a new institutional era; that of democratic governance striving for peace and national development. However, huge political, economic and security challenges remain causing a significant social impact, leading to fear and weakening society’s social fabric. The government has limited capacity to control the violence and lacks adequate structures to protect civilians. Although measures have been applied, the situation remains turbulent and many residents have abandoned their homes.
The country also faces one of the highest levels of gender disparity in the region. Harmful gender norms result in women being seen as second-class citizens. They are left out of decision-making processes and are underrepresented in positions of power. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a common occurrence, with women falling victim to sexual violence by rebel groups as well as domestic abuse. All of this hinders women’s crucial role in maintaining the social fabric in a situation of continued conflict.
DR Congo faces one of the highest levels of gender disparity in the region. Harmful gender norms result in women being seen as second-class citizens.
Alongside our six local partners, Mensen met een Missie works in North and South Kivu, where tensions are high and violence is prevalent. We empower women and girls so they can fully participate and equally contribute to rebuilding the social and economic structure of the country. We do this through:
Improving the protection of women and girls
We set up rights advocates and civil society groups in targeted communities and train them on regional and international instruments for the protection of women and girls and on lobbying and advocacy techniques. These groups take action against violations of women’s rights and GBV through monitoring and denunciation of cases. We also train local authorities and inform them about the new laws, regulations and national instruments supporting women’s rights.
Transforming harmful gender norms
We organise forums, community dialogues and radio programmes, where women, men and authorities can reflect on the discriminatory norms affecting gender equality. Through leadership and awareness training, women are encouraged to publicly challenge gender norms. Groups of men, called “Engaged Men”, as well as groups of young boys, receive capacity building training on Positive Masculinity. In turn, they promote gender equality in their communities, become facilitators and train their peers.
Ensuring participation of women in conflict transformation and peacebuilding
We organise skills and empowerment training for women leaders to recognise the important role women can play in decision making, peacebuilding, mediation and advocacy. These training sessions help build women’s self-confidence and capacity to formulate clear arguments in presenting the needs of the community to the authorities. It also lessens their fear in speaking out and challenging local authorities, the police and the military.
Groups of men, called “Engaged Men”, as well as groups of young boys, receive capacity building training on Positive Masculinity.
“The programme has provided me with a lot of expertise in mediation, reconciliation and conflict resolution. Now, I go to the authorities to report women’s rights violations and to advocate for rights and I‘m a leader in my neighbourhood community.” – Anne Marie, in Uvira, South Kivu
Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie has managed to:
- Enable a total of 1,644 men and women to regularly participate in advocacy activities to ensure the authorities are responsible for implementing the national strategy to combat gender-based violence.
- Aid a total of 100 women to be appointed to leading positions in their local communities.
- Set up a total of 75 local civil society groups and human rights promoters, with a focus on women.
- Train a total of 2,292 men and 1,854 young boys in Positive Masculinity, committing themselves to defend the rights of women and girls.
- Have 92% of women and 38% of men and local leaders in the local communities recognise and support the contribution of women to the peace process.
- Inform a total of 6,982 women, men, youth and civil society groups about women’s rights and about the DRC NAP R1325.
Our commitment to promote gender equality in DRC is part of the “Women, Peace and Security” programme based on the National Action Plan UNSCR 1325. The programme was implemented by a consortium consisting of Mensen met een Missie as lead organisation, CARE Nederland, Tosangana and in collaboration with local partners.
Mensen met een missie
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