Online mapping to end sexual, domestic violence: Report on research in the Republic of Congo

Sylvie Niombo

In the Republic of Congo, there was no previous experience in using online mapping to advance the rights of women and children. However, in the area of combating violence against women and girls, an analysis of the response to sexual violence was carried out by UNICEF in 2008 in the aftermath of the armed conflict in the Congo. In addition, the Congolese Association to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls (ACOLVF) conducted data gathering and research in different regions. During the armed conflict and post-conflict years, data was also routinely collected on sexual violence in the Congo by different public institutions (national and local governments) and private institutions (NGOs and churches). At that time, the weaknesses identified through the analysis of the situation carried out by UNICEF included, among others, the lack of coordination among the different institutions and structures involved in the fight against violence against women and girls and the lack of common tools (such as identification records of the victims of violence).

We could therefore say that the necessary elements to develop an online map of violence were already in place in the Congo, before the APC AFRICATTI project. It is not unusual today to see CSOs that use “offline” maps to identify or illustrate their intervention sites.

The project was implemented by the Women’s Rights Programme of the Association for Progressive Communications and AZUR Développement.

In the Republic of Congo, the project focused on an urban and semi-urban area and a rural area. AZUR Développement chose to execute the project in Pointe-Noire and Nkayi, where it had already undertaken activities aimed at combating violence against women and girls. These included the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, which it had carried out there since 2010, and in collaboration with other CSOs since 2011. As a result, AZUR Développement had a certain amount of experience on the ground in these areas, and had also already worked in collaboration with local authorities. In addition, the mapping project had been conceived on the hypothesis that it should be executed in areas where activities with CSOs were already underway. As such, the project would not provide funding for regular activities to combat violence against women and girls, but rather for documenting these activities and using the map and resulting data as an advocacy tool.

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