We are very excited to invite you to join us online from February 19 – 26 as the Nobel Women’s Initiative – led by Nobel peace laureate Leymah Gbowee – travels to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
We will meet with women who are at the forefront of working for peace and an end to sexual violence in conflict. Follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CongoWomenSpeak, and our blog as the delegation visits women-led projects doing extraordinary work!
The war formally ended in Congo with a peace agreement in 2002. However, violence still characterizes daily life. Rebels, foreign military groups, and the Congolese army continue to perpetrate violence against civilians, particularly in the provinces of North and South Kivu. The conflict has claimed more than 5.4 million lives since the outbreak of the first war in 1996. Exploitation of the country’s bountiful natural resources has compounded the conflict within Congo.
Women are disproportionately impacted. Along with the economic and psychological burden placed on women living in active conflict, the women in Congo are also subjected to unprecedented rates of sexual violence. Rape is used regularly as a tactic of war, and impunity for gender violence remains high.
But a critical mass of women-led groups are working together to advance peace. Women are employing innovative strategies to advocate for protection, services, and justice. Congo’s women are building a strong women’s movement for change in their country.
The delegation will communicate what we learn in eastern Congo with decision-makers across Africa and in the international community. Our goal is to support women-led change in Congo – we will advocate that resources be targeted to support grassroots women in their work for peace.