Action and Development Initiatives to protect women and children or AIDPROFEN association, is a nonprofit organisation based in Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The AIDPROFEN association campaigns to promote Congolese women's rights in North Kivu, where founder Passy Mubalama has worked as a human rights defender for 4 years.
The mission of AIDPROFEN is to advocate for women and children affected by conflict in eastern Congo. Human rights violations in the DRC are numerous. Sexual violence, sexual slavery, torture, murder, trauma, genital mutilation, abduction, discrimination and other serious violations of women's rights have been reported for decades in DRC.
Through AIDPROFEN programs, support is given to women victims of armed conflict, survivors of sexual violence and victims of gender-based violence. Children who have lost track of their families during the clashes are also a major focus. Psychosocial support is provided to survivors of sexual violence and economic support to enable them to become more autonomous and independent.
AIDPROFEN has initiated a local center for children. In this center children who have lost their parents during the war, orphans and abandoned kids are cared for. These children are helped until their family members are found. To achieve these activities, AIDPROFEN try to mobilize financial resources through self financing, but also the contribution of people of good will and supportive friends. We carry these activities through donations to the association or the submission of projects for funding request.
AIDPROFEN's goal is to advocate for women , girls and children rights particularly survivor of sexual and gender based violence within the community.
The organisation provides them with different forms of support: economic support as well as psychological support by counseling to allow them to overcome the situation of rape and discrimination.
Furthermore, AIDPROFEN tries hard to provide economic support as many cases of discrimination against survivors are abandoned and rejected by theirs community and family.
The other objectives of AIDPROFEN is to inform women about their rights because AIDPROFEN believe that to have knowledge of their rights is an important key to end gender based violence and to allow women and girls to claim their lives.
How does AIDPROFEN make African women count?
AIDPROFEN's priority is to educate women about their rights and to show them how to claim them. In Goma, AIDPROFEN installed the local Women's Committees (CLF) where women gathered and discussed their rights. These discussions attempt to reflect on solutions to the problems of human rights violations against women and how women can contribute to the establishment of peace in Eastern DRC. AIDPROFEN has also organized many conferences and awareness sessions with young students on the topics of women's right including husband's permission to work in the DRC and the issue of inheritance.
AIDPROFEN makes women count by giving them the voice to be heard locally, nationally and internationaly with different programs. For example besides to teaching local women theirs rights, the organization give to women and girls the opportunity to connect with other women in the world on World Pulse by telling their stories.
One of AIDPROFEN's strategies is to organize social dialogues with communities to mitigate ethnic conflict that is responsible of all these violations of women's rights. The organisation intend to develop further mechanisms to work in partnership with local authorities in order to strengthen the childcare center to better help children affected by conflict. Conducting advocacy work continues with the Congolese government to end conflict, corruption and impunity and the organisation contributes to promoting the rights of women and children in the DRC.
AIDPROFEN conducts advocacy with Congolese authorities and the international community for peace not only in the Democratic Republic of Congo but also in the entire Great Lakes region.
Among the great challenges AIDPROFEN face, one of the most critical is the insecurity that characterizes the region, because of the numerous wars and conflicts perpetrated by armed rebel groups active in the region. All these wars cause daily multiple violations of human rights including the rights of women and children. Another challenge is the daily corruption and impunity that characterizes the Congolese justice as well as poor governance in the DRC. Very often the perpetrators of violations of women's rights are not punished, or are punished for a few days and then they are released and can move freely. In other words, this is not a crime. This situation contributes to insecurity with the victims who have just begun to have the courage to denounce the perpetrators of their rights. Also, human rights defenders remain vulnerable and live with total insecurity. Usually rebel leaders and armed groups intimidate them.
Another major challenge is the lack of financial resources that does not allow the organisation to reach and help many of the victims who live in very remote areas of the city.
To address these challenges, AIDPROFEN continue to work to protect the rights of women and children in North Kivu, and continue to work hard to ensure that victims of sexual violence and gender-based violence are supported. Faced with impunity and corruption that characterizes the Congolese justice system, they continue to mobilize communities to respect the rights of women and children, and work to conduct advocacy with the Congolese government to end corruption and impunity and contribute to promoting the rights of women and children in the DRC.
AIDPROFEN presently have women and men who have been trained in promoting the rights of women and children. Resources are very limited in contrast to the work that is done. There is need for more resources and new strategies to gain financial support that will enable AIDPROFEN to carry out their work to take care of victims of sexual violence, gender based violence and children affected by conflict.