Rockflower is partnering with SOFEDI to increase women's participation in preventing conflict and promoting peace. Congolese women are not effectively represented and have never been able to fully participate in the governance of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). No women has ever been a head of state or served as Prime Minister. Although women constitute 63% of the DRC electorate they represent only 7.2% of leadership positions in the government. The government, national assembly, major institutions, civil society organizations, and indeed many female-focused service providers are run by men in the DRC.

Several obstacles stand in the way of women becoming leaders in the DRC. These include cultural preconceptions that men bear the "burden" of civic duty together with  the practical realties for so many women with family responsibilities. Lack of female education, socially embedded male dominance, a fear of physical security and a myriad of economic obstacles further add to this seemly insurmountable problem facing women in achieving equal participation in Congolese society.

Through the formation of community women's groups and mobilization, training on women's rights, and the organization of awareness campaigns to promote the inclusion of women in all forms of local governance, SOFEDI will engage all levels of society in the Kazimia area. By conducting a study of all existing laws and policies, they will educate women to ensure the implementation of these laws.  Through community dialogue and motivational meetings focusing on women's rights and their participation in politics, they will have an opportunity to demonstrate how knowing one's rights and enforcing them will lead to greater political strength. This directly impacts issues of food security, personal safety, economic empowerment and general health and wellbeing.    

To increase meaningful participation of women especially from marginalized communities in local governance the Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI) will undertake to implement the following objectives:

  • Promote women's human rights through training of monitors in Bukavu, Uvira, and Kazimia South-Kivu Province, in the DRC.

  • Promote a quota of at least 50% of female representation in public decision-making

  • Combat violence and ensure zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination against women and girls. This will include providing temporary shelter and assistance to the victims of domestic violence and rape,  as well as the rehabilitation of girl child soldiers.

  • Promote leadership transformation by providing space for women's participation and representation in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, consolidation of peace and the reconstruction of the DRC

  • Promote good governance, transparency and democracy and enhance public awareness on gender issues through the media.

  • Build and strengthen women's coalitions for women's empowerment 

ABOUT SOFEDI  

Envisioning a just peaceful society with complete gender equality ' Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI) was established in 2014 as a grassroots, community-based, not-for-profit non-governmental organization  (NGO) in Kazimia, Fizi District Administration Office (DAO). Since its inception, SOFEDI has been advocating for women's and girls' access to decision making positions in  political, social and economic spheres within the community.

Within a short period of time, SOFEDI has established itself as leading organization working in the sector of women's equal participation.  It has introduced and established the agenda "Women in Politics" which has been expanded and adopted by others in the district.  The organization has continuously supported and advocated for human rights, social protection and the establishment of democratic practices.  It has implemented voter education programs in Fizi zone, to educate the public on leadership opportunities for women and girls. Through the establishment of RESOURCE CENTERS, they have addressed issues such as women's reproductive health, girl child education, violence against women, food security and the growing impact of climate change to address the sustainable development goals at a community level. 

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