Since 2011, AIDPROFEN have been focusing on monitoring violations of women and children rights, protecting survivors of sexual and gender based violence in IDP camps, empowering women and girls through leadership training and encouraging their civic and political engagement. AIDPROFEN today has 20 staff and volunteers in three territories in North Kivu and funding from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Agir Ensemble pour les droits Humains (AEDH), a French NGO.
In 2015, through AIDPROFEN and inspired by my 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders PROGRAM, AIDPROFEN started an Education Center on Democracy and Human Rights in Goma. It specializes in human rights education and provides access to different resources about democracy and women’s rights. These trainings and other exchange programs are opportunities to discuss about the major challenges women and youth are facing in the DRC. AIDPROFEN has worked extensively with political party leaders to help them to take in account the gender representation in the selection of candidates and in the assignment of positions of responsibility in their political party. For example, we work closely in Nyiragongo, a territory an hour north from the provincial capital of Goma, marked by regional conflicts between Congolese and those perceived as “Rwandans” and migration and displacement caused by the presence of armed groups. Following our interventions, one of our participants was nominated as one of the few female “Cheffe de groupement” (a customary administrative division) and several other women joined a local security committee.
WORK WITH YOUNG WOMEN
Through our youth program, I increase the peaceful participation of girls in the political process and help to develop the next generation of women leaders in the DRC through trainings.
AIDPROFEN engage young women in political participation, provide young women with needed skill and knowledge to engage the Congolese government more effectively, help develop the next generation of political government and civil society women leaders and involve women in projects that help improve their lives and their communities.
Through AIDPROFEN, We promote civic engagement, youth political participation and youth participation in public affairs.We have gained experience through different activities: training, exchange meetings on how they can really be engaged in politics and how they can influence and have access to decision-making positions. The social and political context is very complex during this period where the President of the Republic Joseph Kabila is at the end of his mandate. This situation has created great political instability in the country. Our activities help young people be aware of their roles and how they can contribute in non-violent ways to deal with this situation. AIDPROFEN helped organize so many activities aimed to strengthen constructive youth participation in public affairs in the service of empowering youth as non-violent agents for democratic change and the advancement of democratic rights in the DRC, including:
Citizen’s Coffee (“Café citoyen”): Allows youth to interact and discuss with local authorities.
- Art competition to promote democracy and human’s rights: Drawings, theaters and songs to allow young people to express themselves on civic and political issues in the DRC.
- Discussion and exchange program on youth commitment and civic engagement, including site visits within public institutions.
- Training for youth from civil societies organizations, political party, students and artists on non-violence and civil resistance, including LUCHA and other citizen movements on the non-active violence.
- Meetings with community leaders and leaders of political party on how they can be engaged and support women’s political participation in the DRC.
AIDPROFEN has observed many instances of positive change, where youth participants solved conflict peacefully when, before, they would have engaged in violence.
Through AIDPROFEN programs, support is given to women victims of armed conflict, survivors of sexual violence and victims of gender-based violence. Children who have lost track of their families during the clashes are also a major focus. Psychosocial support is provided to survivors of sexual violence and economic support to enable them to become more autonomous and independent. AIDPROFEN has initiated a local center for children. In this center children who have lost their parents during the war, orphans and abandoned kids are cared for. These children are helped until their family members are found. To achieve these activities, AIDPROFEN try to mobilize financial resources through self financing, but also the contribution of people of good will and supportive friends. We carry these activities through donations to the association or the submission of projects for funding request.