The fundamental mission of COFAPRI is to give moral and material assistance to rural women and girls of the DR Congo who have been raped and those who suffer domestic violence. They also seek to support the children born by victims of rape and sexual violence as well those who are discriminated in their families. In addition to this, COFAPRI motivates, encourages and helps women and girls to partake in activities that can generate income.
When asked about their vision and purpose, the organizations founder Mugisho Nadabuli said, “we need to bring change in the lives of these women and their daughters and so we promote their rights and open them to developing their families, the society and the nation. When meeting the victims of rape and domestic violence, we discuss and try to show them how they should not totally despair but rather be confident to promote themselves by involving in some activities that bring them income. We help and train them on how to do small business, breed some animals, sew, knit, and many more activities that can generate income.”
They help women access resources, heal from their traumas and work on social-reintegration. They also really try to focus their work on building the future of the DRC through work with children who have become rape victims as well as those orphaned by the war. They seek to sponsor children and give them the resources for school materials and fees. COFAPRI, aslso stresses that they also assist those who are “categorically refuse to attend school are helped in different ways with the aim of shunning them to become street boys and girls, which is a handicap for development as it fosters banditry”. One day COFAPRI hopes to create its own school where both women and children can be educated.
They trult believe that there cannot be sustainable development in society if women and girls are still lagging behind, robbed their rights or discriminated. It is in this vein that they work in empowering and raising awareness of gender issues to make women and girls be able to say no to violence, speak out fearlessly the abuses committed against them and be actively involve in sustainable development.
COFAPRI’s key objectives are:
- a.To have a society free of violence by helping women and girls to know about their rights, assisting the victims of rape and violence in the DRC and the GLR
- b.To raise the awareness on gender issues and empower the women and girls of this region to be able to break the cycle of all forms of violence done on them and thus build a safe Congo and region for them; Fighting any form of forced sex since this is one of the forms through which women and girls are infected with HIV
- c.Promoting gender equality to opportunities and self expression. Break the silence and speak out of discriminatory practices and myths that have always neglected the woman’s rights by giving it all to men. So they will fight these cultures that consider women as things and thus invaluable. Males also have to be re-educated on how to consider females for a fair and safe social harmony
- d.Self promotion and development; in addition to promoting their rights, these women will also learn to carry out some activities as to develop the country and their own welfare (animal breeding, sewing, knitting, etc .)
- e.Educating potential women and girls able to defend safely their rights based on positive civic, moral and political values. This helps to root out ignorance and promote collective educative awareness via participation in sharing opinions and experience
- f.Help former combatants to reintegrate society and so contribute to the development of their communities.
How does COFAPRI make African women count?
COFAPRI makes African women count by making them understand that their commitment to move out of poverty can be achieved. COFAPRI reports that, “it is in this context that we address discrimination, violence addressed to her in her home and in community. We help the women to contribute to the management and the economy of their families, the society and the nation. This is why we involve them in income generating activities such as animal rearing, sewing and knitting activities.”
They suggest that African woman’s participation is effective as the outcome of education build on gender parity and nondiscriminatory education. Based on this, COFAPRI is supporting the education of rural children born to raped mothers, mostly the girls. They truly believe that the sustainable development of our globe begins with women.
Muguisho tells us that the successes of COFAPRI are plentiful but that the most important is for sure “the women and girls [they] are helping understand that involving in income generating activities can reduce their poverty and dependence on the husbands who often abuse them.”
They are also proud in their recruitment of local leaders to join their team as they feel their society is a patriarchal one so they must speak to and involve local male leaders to motivate them about this cause as well.
They also very proud of the countless women who are motivated to be part of their organization and who see a brighter future through joining.
The challenges COFAPRI faces include among others, lack of security in the villages where our members live. The DR Congo has been experiencing warfare sine 1996 until now and the fighters are in the mountains where our members live. This instability poses many challenges for the organization.
Further, they also worry about funding prospects. Muguisho tells is, “We also have the problem of funding since we are getting more new members who need support from us. The people coming to us are mostly girls who were raped and those who are discriminated in their families; they are refused the right to get school education due to traditions and erroneous social beliefs stipulating that girls do not perform as good as boys in school and that when girls get married, they leave a gap in their families and never come back to help their parents. We have not enough funds to satisfy the basic needs for all our members.”
The organization also would like to raise enough funds to create a school and see promoting their organization as a key challenge. To address this they are trying to promote themselves online through social media outlets to raise awareness and gain support.
For more information about COFAPRI, please contact/follow: