DRC News: Weekly Roundup April 20-24thMarch 18, 2018
Empowering Women in the CongoMarch 18, 2018
In the month of April, we learned about the work of CARE , an organization that provides survivors of sexual violence with medical care and psychosocial counselling, as well as opportunities to start to earn an income. Another impactful organization, the Nzenze Health Centre, has been working hard this month using motorbikes to help expectant mothers fight malaria, a major cause of maternal and infant mortality.
A number of fascinating discoveries were made this month: the first being a mother and infant of Bouvier’s red colobus monkeys, who were photographed in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first time in four decades. The species was thought to have gone extinct in the 1970s. Next, Che Guevara’s journals about his bid to bring revolutionary war to the Congo were found and shared with the world. The last and most surprising of the discoveries, was when Thai customs officials seized 4 tons of smuggled ivory on its way to Laos from the DRC. Apparently DRC’s massive amounts of valuable resources are commonly sold to fund rebel groups and continue warfare.
In political news, Joseph Kabila has been making good strides for the people of North Kivu as he opened the option for relocation for those 60,000 that have had to flee their homes due to renewed fighting in the area. Kabila has said this re-installation option should help to modernize living conditions. The government has also signed up for a new plan to stabilize North Kivu, which is currently the province with the worst levels of violence and insecurity. Negative news surrounding Kabila and the DRC government also surfaced as Human Rights Watch (HRW) uncovered a number of mass casualties. Investigations link them to the violent protests in January. At least 40 people died protesting against a proposed law to require a national census before an election.
On a lighter political note, we learned about activist Esperance Mawanzo a.k.a Mama Parity and her organization’s (Parity Observatory) tireless work to get more Congolese women involved in politics.
Finally in our own news, Hear Congo was one of the two organizations that benefited from the International Women ‘s Unity summit in Miami! Hear Congo’s own Kaleba Huguette Ngoie was also a panelist in the Women in a Philanthropy and Global Change agent panel!
Read more about these stories here:
The Nzenze Health Area, in Bas Congo province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is linked by kilometres of dirt tracks and footpaths running over vibrant grassy hills and beneath dense forest canopy. But there is a constant stream of patients and visitors. Five nurses work in rotation, three days on, one day off. During breaks, they sleep behind the reception counter under a mosquito net.
“This is the story of a failure,” Marxist guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote in his journal after a bid to bring “revolutionary war” to the Congo 50 years ago. Che arrived secretly at the head of a dozen Cuban fighters of black African origin on April 24, 1965, to join rebels in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their aim was to make the heart of Africa a bulwark against neocolonialism and “Yankee imperialism”.
Smuggling of ivory, gold and timber worth over a billion dollars a year is fuelling war by funding dozens of rebel groups in Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN report has warned.
“Militarised criminal groups with transnational links are involved in large-scale smuggling” of “gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory” of up to $1.3 billion (1.2 billion euros) each year from eastern DRC, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said.
Customs officials in Thailand say they have made the biggest seizure of smuggled ivory in the country’s history. Officials said the multi-million dollar haul was going to Laos, from where they believed it would be sold to customers across Asia.
The African primate hasn’t been seen since the 1970s and was assumed to have become extinct. But, in a statement released late last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society says two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo were successful in a quest begun in February to confirm reports that Bouvier is still out there. They returned with a first-ever snapshot of a mother and infant.
Aid agencies say more than 60,000 people have fled their homes amid renewed fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) province of North Kivu in the past month. But the number of displaced people in the province is falling, and the government plans to close down several of their resettlement camps around the provincial capital Goma.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has signed up for a new plan to stabilize North Kivu, the DRC province with the worst levels of violence and insecurity. The plan’s authors say it involves more local consultation than previous plans.
The United States of America (U.S.A)-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) and opposition lawmakers on Monday, April 6, 2015 said the bodies found in the mass grave have to be investigated to see if any of the people killed during anti-government protests in January 2015 have been buried there, BBC said. At least 40 people died in the violent protests against a proposed law to require a national census before an election, a move that opponents said was an attempt to delay the vote and extend President Joseph Kabila’s mandate, Reuters reported.
Bukavu (DR Congo) (AFP) – In DR Congo, where women struggle against terrible violence and inequality, a committed activist fights against all the odds to give women a third of all elected posts.
March 31st was a very important day for women around the world to come together both physically and virtually to celebrate Women’s History Month. The First Annual “International Women’s Unity Summit” was held at the Miami Freezone where women from over twenty countries connected to discuss a variety of topics, including women in politics, education, leadership and more.