“We (women) know so many things. You see something suspect but with no access to the Security Council, you have nowhere to report it. We are advocating to change this and involve women in security decisions.” Julienne declares; live on Mama Radio and the 23 partner radio station streaming across Eastern Democtatic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Julienne is one of 20 women members of ‘listening clubs’ and 2 male women’s rights advocates in South Kivu, working under the Women’s Platform to ensure that the long-awaited Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for DRC and the region, serves women.
It was important for the women of DRC and the region that the Framework of Hope addresses sexual and gender based violence, as well as the importance of women’s voices and leadership in peace building. As such, Isis-WICCE partnered with AFEM, the South Kivu association of women in media, to amplify women’s voices and harness their power to implement and monitor the PSC framework while advocating for change.
Women had the peace framework translated into Swahili and distributed 400 copies to other women, men and local authorities, explaining the contents. “Women are undermined, but now in places like Nyangezi, women have understood the agreements made in Addis Ababa. Act 4 gives a woman a place to express herself and her rights, and shows the contribution of a woman when it comes to peace making, We are now defending this Framework of Hope everywhere” Julienne explains.
The Women’s Platform operating in South Kivu, Idjwi, Uvira Karana and Walungu engaged 100 (60 women and 40 men) traditional leaders, community leaders, civil society activists, and local authorities to publicize the contents of the peace agreement and involve them in monitoring gender-sensitive implementation. The team conducted research and gathered up-to-date data on sexual violence, gender based violence, domestic violence, killings, sexual harassment in schools, and arbitrary arrests.
Following this, women hosted various radio shows to discuss pertinent gender, peace and security issues and call for action. A recurring subject was women’s participation in implementing the peace accord and tracking progress. Women in Katana village continue this conversation off air with their authorities.
Maguey explains, “Women presented the framework to advocate for their participation in the local Security Council. Only the authorities – traditional, administrative, police and army- are allowed to participate and almost all of them are men. So women were allowed as observers but their opinions cannot be taken into account. Our goal now is effective participation”