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06 June 2013

Eastern Congo: AMOFUT - Shaping the future with awareness-raising work in schools

The horrific reports of rapes in eastern Congo just never end. According to partner organisations of medica mondiale, more younger women, even children, and also men and boys are being raped. With an ambitious school project in the Fizi region, the organisation Association Monde Futur (AMOFUT – Association for a Future World) is committed to strengthening the rights of girls and boys. This year, AMOFUT became a partner organisation of medica mondiale.

"One of the factors that particularly convinced us to select AMOFUT to receive project funding was the fact that only very few relief organisations are active in the remote areas of Fizi, where there is a very high need for assistance," explained Sina Tielke, medica mondiale staff member for the Grant Program.

Very young victims of violence are at particular risk of being left alone with their experiences, since there is nobody in their schools they would talk to, and definitely nobody in their families. This is the reason AMOFUT places such importance on a project of public awareness and sex education work, which will visit 20 schools in the region, drawing attention to the victims’ fate and appealing to parents and teachers to provide support. Staff at the organisation conduct regular dialogues with school classes to inform the girls and boys about the causes and consequences of sexualised violence. "Working with very young target groups, the organisation Association Monde Futur helps to make children more aware of their rights. They lend words to a topic which is otherwise taboo, help to overcome conventional ways of thinking, and therefore help to shape the country’s future," says Ms Tielke.

AMOFUT encourages the pupils to think about the issues by running competitions on the topic "Sexualised Violence", offering uniforms and other school materials as prizes. Additionally, AMOFUT helps to set up "pupil committees" which act as contact points for other pupils to approach if they want to talk in confidence about rape or sexual harassment. "Visitor Days" are organised at the schools to bring parents and teaching staff on board.

medica mondiale is supporting the project with about 10,000 euros funding in 2013. 5,000 pupils are expected to receive awareness training this year.

Background:

In 2013, medica mondiale received 120 grant applications from organisations around the world, with the majority coming from African countries. After careful consideration of the applications, medica mondiale granted 20 organisations funding for this year. Many of the selected projects offer local women direct psychosocial, medical, legal or economic assistance. Other organisations carry out networking or awareness-raising work around the issues of sexualised and gender-specific violence.

Published in Newsletter June 2013