The origins of REFEADES
The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered from a number of civil wars and rebellions in the past 20 years that have strongly affected the lives of local populations, particularly girls and women. This led to an escalation of violence against civilians as well as to the degradation of lands and forests due to the excessive deforestation forced onto the local populations by armed groups to finance their wars.
In 2009, five women who had suffered from displacement due to the wars, decided to launch REFEADES. The first meeting organized by REFEADES aimed at calling attention to the alarming violence that girls and women were facing in the Eastern part of the DRC. At the time, up to 15 women were victims of sexual violence on a daily basis. REFEADES has worked consistently to empower Congolese girls and women, and to improve the livelihood of the entire Congolese population through strong links with local communities.
REFEADES' main objective is to spread efforts to promote human and environmental rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We do this through carrying out projects that:
1. Provide good health and well-being for all people, with a focus on girls and women.
2. Provide primary and quality education for all children.
3. Fight against poverty by empowering women, supporting their economic growth, and promoting gender equality.
4. Protect Lake Tanganyika, forests, protected areas, natural reserves, and biological diversity, and combat climate change.
5. Tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted and infectious diseases in the DRC and Burundi.
6. Provide clean water and sanitation to rural populations.
7. Invest in young people as key actors of change.