Protecting women in Congo
Invi and NGO Help a Child will join forces to protect women against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Congo (DRC) by combining two innovations.
The power of two interventions
1 in 3 women worldwide experience sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in their lives. Especially in areas with fragile social structures, as a result of conflict or war, people are often exposed to an increased risk of violence. UN Women identified a “lack of protection” as one of the seven causes that can lead to violence against women.
Invi and Help a Child are joining forces to combine the strengths of two interventions in addressing SGBV in humanitarian settings. The Invi self-defense bracelet is combined with an inclusive community program that focuses on spreading knowledge and awareness on SGBV. By reaching out to girls, but also boys, teachers, parents and community leaders we include all in building a culture where SGBV is rejected and equality is embraced by the local community.
The local team has reported about two incidents where the Invi Bracelet prevented an attempted rape.
Testimony by project participant
“I left my house at 3.30pm to go to the market. Along the way, I met three men, two wearing military uniforms and carrying weapons. They asked me where I was from and I told them I was coming from the market to buy food. Then they told me that they wanted to eat the food I was holding. I told them that food was not sufficient but if they were really hungry, we could share it.
We (me and the three men) continued our way and after a moment we met another soldier who asked these soldiers that I too had to give him cigarettes. I kindly told him that I had no money to buy cigarettes for him. Then he shouted at me, raising his voice and hit my right hand with a stick. Two of the four men jumped directly on me, brutalized me and took off my clothes. I was almost naked except for the panties that I wore as underwear. The battle began between me and the two soldiers, one holding my two arms. As it was not possible to open the Invi Bracelet with my hands, I used my teeth to open it. It was smelling so terribly that the two men wondered what happened, coughing and closing their nostrils. I seized that occasion to run away in the direction I could find houses. During the escape I crossed a river to go to a friend’s place so that she could give me clothes to wear. After telling her the whole story, she accompanied me to my home.”
The program is currently ongoing in the region of South Kivu. The project is funded by the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) for humanitarian Innovations and researched by l’Université Évangélique Afrique.