In the words of award-winning gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege, women’s bodies have been a battleground for more than 20 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rape has been used as a weapon of war, on all sides, while child marriage has risen sharply, owing to the state of lawlessness and climate of impunity. 37% of women now aged 20 to 24 were married as children. The DRC ranks 9th in the world among countries with the highest absolute number of child marriages.
As a result of ongoing conflict and corruption, those laws relating to child marriage that do exist are not enforced. While the conflict continues, it is extremely difficult to put an end to this widespread, harmful practice. Tragically, this means that countless girls are denied their right to childhood and face bleak futures.
THE SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
W4’s field partner Women for Equal Chances, based in Kamuronza in North Kivu (in the east of the DRC, bordering Uganda), works to raise awareness among the local population about the harms of child marriage and to mobilize the region’s community to end child marriage. Through radio programs, training workshops for community leaders, and the dissemination of informational leaflets about child marriage, the program aims to help local communities to gain a better understanding of the harms of child marriage and the means to prevent it.
The overall goal of the program is to encourage a community-wide commitment – including a written community declaration –
to end child marriage, with a series of public meetings to be held throughout villages in the region in order to implement the community declaration.
In parallel, the program provides support and capacity-building services for young women who were married as children, notably through socio-economic reintegration training. A key component is income-generating activity training, such as artisanal basket weaving (using organic materials), enabling the women to develop their own small businesses and become financially autonomous. Thanks to livelihoods training, the women become better equipped to protect themselves and provide for their own and their children’s needs.
THE IMPACT OF GIVING
Your donation can have a life-changing impact for young women who were married as children, offering them the opportunity of livelihoods training. You can enable these women to earn vital revenues and better care for themselves and their children, protecting their own children from child marriage.
By donating to this program, you can make a real, lasting difference and help end child marriage in the Kamuronzo region in North Kivu. Through an array of training and educational services, the program has the potential to reach 25,000 people, enabling collective, community-wide action to end child marriage.
Together, we can end child marriage!