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Congolese students and survivors use ICTs to prevent the spread of violence

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Par Azur Développement pour APC

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo, 27 October 2010

Survivors of violence (Congo) undergo training and counsellingSurvivors of violence (Congo) undergo training and counsellingFive different organisations in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) are receiving small grants as part of the APC Women’s programme’s – Take Back the Tech! to fight violence against women project. Female students, women and girls who have survived violence and abuse will learn how to use different technologies to signal cases of abuse, build awareness around their experiences and help support others victims. Read more about these innovative projects, which will be taking place until March 2011.

TAKE BACK THE TECH! FUND WINNERS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Association Dynamique Plurielle in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, will work with 250 female 1st to 3rd year high school students from Savorgnon de Brazzaville High School to fight against sexual harassment in schools by involving teachers and school management. It will organise awareness meetings on the Portella and Potignon Acts, which prohibits relationships between teachers and students and protects minors, during which they will screen video testimonies from survivors of abuse. During the project, students will also send alerts about sexual harassment cases via SMS by the students; and a “listening cell” of the organisation at the high school will actively respond. Educational information about the laws will be sent to 250 students; and trivia questions via SMS and MMS will be sent out participants. Winners will be awarded free internet browsing tickets for the best answer. Students will also be trained on how to use the internet to teach and train others. They will also be sensitized to online privacy and security issues when surfing the internet and using mobile phones.

Association Femmes Solidaires in Brazzaville will train fifteen young mothers infected with HIV/AIDS and survivors of violence in counselling so they can provide psychological support to their peers. Awareness-raising sessions will be held on human rights, targeting 50 women and young mothers infected with HIV/AIDS. Ten of them will be trained in basic computers skills, internet browsing and searching, and writing articles and blogs to document the experiences of violence by HIV-positive women and girls. Radio shows that broadcast the testimonies of these survivors of violence will be produced with the assistance of female journalists and members of the organisation. These radio programs will be reproduced on CDs and distributed to other organisations for their advocacy and educational activities, and uploaded to the internet.

Jeunes Infrastructure et Développement (CJID) will work to reduce violence against women and girls in Kinkala, an area that was affected by armed conflict until 2003, through awareness and education on ICTs. Twenty female soldiers and policewomen will be sensitised about violence against women. Around100 survivors of violence will be reached by this project; from which 35 will be trained in basic computer skills and internet use. They will create a listening space for survivors at their office, and provide mobile internet access to the people of Kinkala, especially young students. The project will also produce video testimonials with a team of survivors of violence, which will be screened at awareness meetings and shared with other organisations. There will also be an SMS contest for the best testimonies, and a moderated blog will be put in place to give voices to the project beneficiaries on the web.

Comptoir Juridique Junior will work with 200 students in the Mpaka Secondary School and the OCH Technical High School in Pointe-Noire to fight against and prevent sexual harassment in schools. Their actions will involve teachers and school management. Students will send alerts on cases of sexual harassment via SMS, and different measures will be taken after a consultation. Competitions for testimonies by survivors of violence via SMS and MMS will be held with 200 students, and the best testimonies will be awarded with training on the use of the internet for learning purposes. The project also educates students on privacy and security online when surfing the internet and using mobile phones. A network of students from both institutions will be created before the end of the project.

Handicapés Sans Frontières in Pointe-Noire will gather some sixty female journalists, women and girls with disabilities to educate, denounce, and find solutions to end violence against them, as well as help them break their silence. The organisation will hold awareness sessions on women’s rights and how to fight violence against women in the media and women’s circles for those with disabilities. They will be trained in basic computer skills and the internet in order to communicate about violence through blogs, photos and mobile phones. They will learn how to record sounds with mobile phones, how to take and upload photos and how to upload video and audio to the internet. Women and girls with disabilities and survivors of violence will also use the internet to advocate for a space where they can express themselves. Female journalists involved in the project will present radio and television programs that demonstrate the magnitude and call for action on violence against women and girls with disabilities.

Further reading:
Technologies for transformation:combating violence against women in the Congo

As part of its work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal #3 (MDG3), the Association for Progressive Communicaitons Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) is providing a small grants fund for projects working with women, technology and raising awareness about violence against women in over 30 communities. Funds from the MDG3 grant are going directly towards supporting over 60 local, primarily community based organisations to implement projects that use ICTs to end violence against women and building their capacity to do so.

The Take Back the Tech! fund is a part of the APC women’s programme Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project, which falls under the APC’s work towards achieving the third Millennium Development Goal on equality for women. A total of $20 000 dollars have been disbursed to twelve country partners for redistribution to local and grassroots organisations that are working with women and ICTs.

Photo by l’Association des Femmes Solidaires: Survivors of violence undergo training and counseling in Brazzaville.

(FIN/2010)

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