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DR Congo

Building hope and opportunities for women in DRC

Trócaire and seven local partner organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have hosted the launch of an exciting new four year project which aims to build peace and gender equality in Ituri province. This project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

The DRC has experienced ongoing conflict since the late 1990s, which has caused an estimated 5.4 million deaths, half of which were children under five years of age. DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 176 out of 189 in the UN’s Human Development Index. 

Gender inequality is a serious issue for the country. Women hold only 8% of seats in parliament. Only 37% of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education. This is compared with 66% for men. Furthermore, rape has been in widespread use as a weapon of war amongst armed groups in the DRC.

Ituri Province has seen some of the bloodiest fighting and gravest atrocities of Congo’s numerous conflicts. It included large-scale massacres and widespread sexual violence.

The aim of this new Trócaire project is to contribute to peaceful and gender equal communities in two territories of Ituri Province: Mambasa and Djugu. We will do this by promoting women’s socio-economic empowerment, as well as by promoting their protection against gender-based violence. 

Launching the Project

The first of two launch events took place in Mambasa territory, in Ituri province, together with four local partner organisations : CVAP, CARS, FECONDE and PADIP. During the gathering, Trocaire presented the two main themes of our project:

  • Women’s empowerment & governance
  • Agricultural livelihoods
Building peaceful communities that are supportive of gender equality would not be possible without the involvement of local authorities. As such, the attendance of many different local authorities at the launch is extremely beneficial to the success of the work we do. 
Lots of different stakeholders attended the launch, including individuals, officials, and other NGOs. In particular, three members from the political-administrative authorities of Mambasa attended. This included the local ‘Groupement Chefs’, who are the heads of local structures which oversee local villages. The ‘Chefferies’ who lead the different structures made up from multiple Groupements also attended. 
There were also representatives of the Provincial Ministries such as environmental, planning, women, children and social affairs, and security officers from the Congolese police and army.

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Attendees at the launch event in Mambasa on Tuesday February 5, 2019
Across the discussions at the launch event, there was lots of enthusiasm demonstrated for our project, and around potential synergies with the work of local authorities. For instance the Ministry of Gender were interested in gender quotas, to ensure the inclusion of women in politics. Most importantly, all stakeholders were interested in the strengthening of peace, which will have long lasting effects in Ituri province.  
Positive and sustainable change is created when individual people, communities, civil society and other institutions are all involved in the change that we want to create.   
We begin this project with a sense of optimism and urgency. We hope that our activities can achieve impact, create opportunities for economic growth and foster peaceful communities in the DRC.
The new Trócaire project is financed by the Swedish International Development Agency and is titled “Building peace through gender equitable and resilient communities in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)”. 

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