Grassroots women’s organization makes a powerful impact with its project in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Actions pour la Réinsertion Sociale de la Femme (ARSF) is an organization, based in South Kivu, focused on community development and women’s participation in decision-making. Its project, entitled “Socio-economic reinsertion of women in Mushinga to consolidate peace in the Walungu Territory (South Kivu Province)“ is funded through the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund and receives technical support from UN Women.

Small group brainstorming session during the women's leadership training organized by ARSF in Mushinga. Photo credit ARSF

It seeks to reinforce local female leadership and peacebuilding by improving human rights knowledge among communities and enhancing women’s economic empowerment in post-conflict environments. The project, which was launched in August 2020, has sought to achieve its objectives by holding a series of workshops and training in 9 different localities in Mushinga Territory. Each workshop targets between 120 and 140 women, and hopes to provide the skills necessary to take on leadership roles in resolving community conflicts and advocating for gender equality.

The organization has also conducted outreach activities through the production of a quarterly newsletter including success stories from the projects, along with radio broadcasts on thematic topics related to their activities. The project does not, however, limit itself to effecting change through publications and training. Indeed, one of the most important components of the project is the provision of psychosocial support and socioeconomic reinsertion to women who have experienced diverse forms of trauma, often linked to the ongoing multiform conflicts which continue in South Kivu. During the first trimester of the project, ARSF established a women’s refuge in Madaka, which is open every day from 9:30 to 16:00 and provides onsite psychosocial counseling to the women from the wider Mushinga area.

The organization also distributed a variety of seeds to 120 women, allowing them to take part in revenue-generating activities through growing onions, corn, haricots, pumpkins and cabbage. A mining community, Mushinga attracts migrants from across the South Kivu region in search of work, which has placed stress on local communities, exacerbated by weak local governance and reported exploitative practices carried out by the mining companies.

UN Women DRC is delighted to congratulate ARSF on its achievements to date, and continues to offer its technical support towards the success of the project throughout its implementation.

UN Women DRC works with funded organizations by providing technical support, capacity building, advice on communications and visibility of their activities, and reporting and evaluation. It also acts as the secretariat of the WPHF National Steering Committee, evaluates project proposals and conducts field missions to project sites. The WPHF Steering Committee brings together representatives of the Government, civil society and donors, along with other UN agencies.

WPHF is a flexible and rapid funding mechanism that supports concrete actions that aim to strengthen women's capacity to act locally to prevent conflicts, respond to crises and emergencies, and seize peacebuilding opportunities. It provides financial support to civil society and grassroots organizations committed to the promotion of women's rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2019.

More information:
  • Adriana Borra; Communications specialist UN Women DRC