2021-2022 Trócaire Annual ReportLearn More
Women in the Ituri region of the DRC are becoming more empowered thanks to funding from SIDA
In the Ituri region, north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), hundreds of women have created a more peaceful and gender equitable community.
From 2018 to 2022, more than 27 communities in the Mambasa and Djugu territories were supported by Trócaire and partners* with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The programme entailed:
Following the programme, more than 65% of women are now more involved and represented in decision-making structures, including those relating to conflict resolution and security. This compares to 45% of women at the start of the project.
A female participant in the Mambasa region said before the programme, women “were kept in the dark”.
“We believed that the resolution of conflicts, the question of security in the village, the management of public affairs, … should exclusively be managed by men alone,” she said.
“But currently when it comes to the issue of gender-based violence, the chief first calls on me to pool thinking and how to find a better solution with the chief’s advisers. Moreover, the council asks the parties to follow my guidelines because I am trained by the project as a psychosocial assistant.”
“Women are currently involved even in extended meetings on security at the territorial level. We are campaigning for the participation of women in decision-making to go forward here at home and we are almost there and the fight continues.”
Attitudes to gender-based violence are also beginning to change; 61% of participants now believe it is wrong to use violence against a wife, compared to 23% at the start of the project.
A male participant and community leader in the Lopa/Djugu region said that customs and social norms are changing for women.
“Custom and social norms did not accept that women participate in decision-making activities or that they can play roles of responsibility in general and in politics in particular. But now, with this project, there has been training on the participation of women, as well as gender-based violence,” he said.
“Today, I am happy to see that women are leading as well as us men. For example, in the St Jean de Lopa sector, a woman is the head of sector. And she does her job very well. But what I want is for women to progress and gain access to roles of greater responsibility. It is not bad that a woman will one day lead this country. There is really progress, this is the case of a village in the chiefdom of Bahema Baguru where we have a very intelligent and competent female village chief.”
During the programme, over 400 survivors of gender-based violence were provided with first aid and psychosocial support by Trócaire’s partner, FECONDE. A fifth of these survivors also accessed legal aid. The security context, remoteness and inaccessibility of legal services prevented this from being higher.
*Partners: Forum des Mamans de l’Ituri, Programme d’Action pour le Développement Intégré du Paysan, Commission Justice et Paix – Bunia, Cadre d’Appui pour la Recherche de Solution, Programme Nourriture d’Abord, Club des Volontaires pour l’Appui aux Peuples autochtones and Femme Congolaise pour le Développement.