In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), civil society organizations on the ground are working to meet the needs of their communities and build a brighter and equal future. In April 2023, United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) Project Officer Jaime Palacios traveled to DRC to meet with the UN Country Team and partners, while forging new connections. We’re spotlighting their invaluable work and projects:
Mobilizing for women’s participation in social and political life
In South Kivu, Palacios met with representatives from Caritas Devéloppement Bukavu (CDB), which has initiatives ranging from youth and gender equality, to peacebuilding and governance. In conflict resolution bodies in the DRC, women who represent 52% of the population are largely under-represented or almost non-represented, according to MONUSCO.
Investing in women’s leadership and representation are key priorities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Moreso, women’s full, equal and meaningful participation is essential to achieving sustainable peace, as shown by UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
In discussions, the partners shared their commitments as male allies to support women in leadership positions. UNDEF has provided funding for CDB’s project focused on empowering women for social and political inclusion in the communities of South Kivu.
Advancing the rights and safety of women with disabilities
Globally, women with disabilities are at least twice as likely than other women to experience violence. In 2015, Congo ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recognizes that women and girls are subject to multiple discrimination.
Congo Handicap is an UNDEF project partner implementing a project to strengthen the capacity of women to prevent conflict and gender-based violence. This organization is pushing for progress to address the vulnerabilities of women with disabilities and advance disability rights. “Our partners from Congo Handicap expressed the importance of hearing from communities on the ground and being aware of the intersectionality of disabilities and conflict,” says Palacios.
Strengthening Young Digital Women’s Civic Engagement
To conclude his mission to the DRC, Project Officer Palacios engaged with Habari RDC and the Resident Coordinators Office. Habari DRC works to close the digital gap for women through their community of unionized bloggers.
The world has witnessed a rise in hate speech, harassment, disinformation and misinformation online–often affecting women and girls disproportionately. A Habari RDC project funded by UNDEF aims to create an alternative and safe online space for Congolese women to connect, raise their voices, mobilise and engage in civic spaces, both online and offline.
Mobilizing partners for a more sustainable future is a pillar of the UN Office for Partnerships. As part of our Office, the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) funds, co-designs, manages, mentors and generates projects that empower civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. Learn more about UNDEF.