As our organization continues to grow, we aim to introduce a series of projects that continue to empower women and the local communities of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Women empowerment program:
Literacy program for 15,000 girls and women of the DRC to aid their self-development.
Sensitization on human rights:
Capacity building for staff members on human rights defense and advocacy.
Protecting primary forests and Lake Tanganyika of the Fizi territory and their exceptional biological diversity.
Promotion of the United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security:
We aim to build a culture of peace and reconciliation as well as create villages free of violence, where women and girls can be free to voice their opinions, have full control of their lives, and take part in peace processes.
Education development program:
Ensuring that every child of the Fizi territory is able to finish their primary education.
Working to end gun violence:
Regular participation in campaigns by the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), of which REFEADES is a member organisation. These campaigns focus on reducing the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons and on ending gender-based violence, as well as on helping to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since the DRC gained independence from Belgium in 1960, the country has been plagued by a series of civil wars and uprisings that have destabilized the country and brought significant armed violence. Illicit small arms proliferation is particularly strong in the Eastern part of the DRC, due to a limited acceptance of the State in those regions and an continuing marginalization of the territories. Populations often resort to armed groups for protection in their daily lives rather than the government's security apparatus, increasing the influx of illicit small arms and armed violence in the region. REFEADES is particularly concerned by the effects of gun violence on women and girls.
Supporting girls falsely accused of witchcraft:
REFEADES, with the help of the non-profit Assisting Children in Need (ACN), financially supports 32 girls from DRC who were falsely accused of witchcraft in their communities.
Producing sanitary napkins:
With the help of the Women World Day of Prayer/Germany committee, REFEADES produces sanitary napkins for girls and women.
Forest restoration and protection:
With the help of the non-profit Global Green Grants International, REFEADES plants trees on hills left bare following the civil wars that affected the Eastern DRC, particularly in the rural territory of Fizi. Through this initiative, REFEADES is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and protecting wildlife habitat.
Child-Friendly Space for War and AIDS Orphans
With the help of the non-profit Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation, REFEADES created a Child-Friendly Space for 244 children whose parents died either as a result of civil wars or AIDS. The children come together and play games to support their healing process.
Primates Sanctuary Protection Workshop
With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, REFEADES organized a 10-day workshop training for 39 community leaders from Iamba villages and sub-villages to protect the Makobola forest, a primate sanctuary. The training aimed to educate participants on conservation techniques for the protection of the habitat of chimpanzees. After the training, participants held debate sessions within their villages for the sustainable protection of the Makobola forest and its biodiversity.
With the help of local populations, two tree nurseries were established and 11,000 trees were planted around the Makobola forest sanctuary.
Pygmy Women Empowerment through Beekeeping
In 2014, with the help of Women Interchurch Council of Canada, REFEADES economically empowered 93 pygmy women by leading workshops on beekeeping. The project supported vulnerable pygmy women by teaching them how to produce and sell their own honey to achieve financial independence.
A PILOT PROJECT FOR GIRLS VICTIMS OF SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE FUNDED BY ACN/USA
The project was funded by Assisting Children in Need in 2016 and consisted of empowering economically 33 girls victims of sexual and gender based violence from Makobola for six months on producing ,marketing and selling home-made soaps in the Fizi rural territory.
You are well aware that when a girl is raped, she is rejected by her biological family and her community. She becomes a laughing stock from the community and is victim of stigmatization.
That is why it was a pilot project because it had to increase the purchasing power of the girls and make them become self-reliance.
The project was a success because now they created a solidarity group to help other girls with the same problems and created a cooperative for the continuation of the project and they live with dignity because the are respected and they have been re-integrated in their community.
Pemba Forest Conservation Workshop
In 2015, with the help of ARCUS Foundation, via Global Green Grants International, REFEADES organized a 10-day workshop training for the conservation of the Pemba forest, the habitat of Macaques, antelopes and birds. The 61 community conservationists were selected from 21 villages.
The selected conservationists trained the local populations of Pemba in establishing tree nurseries and planted 18,000 trees on six hills that were seriously damaged by farming.
Kilingi and Kibila Forests Protection Training
In 2019, with the help of Global Green Grants International, REFEADES led a project that succeeded in protecting the Kilingi and Kibila forests. For 10 days, 51 community leaders were trained on climate change and its social and economic impact on the lives of local populations. The participants were trained on agricultural and ecological techniques aimed at ensuring enhanced forest protection. Women gained competences in crop rotation and mixing.
After the training, participants organized debates and educational talks about climate change and ways to counter it. 20,000 trees were planted on four hills that were seriously damaged by intense deforestation.
Schoolgirls' Empowerment through Sanitary Napkins Production
In 2019, with the help of the Women World Day of Prayer/WWDP/Germany committee, REFEADES provided training to 43 girls unenrolled in school, teaching them how to produce sanitary napkins. Many girls do not get a chance to succeed in school because they lose 3 to 5 days of schooling per month due to their menstruation. The project aimed at providing schooled but also non schooled girls and women from rural areas with safe and decent sanitary napkin products, in replacement of the unsafe pieces of clothes they formerly used during their menstrual period. This project allowed women and girls to become self-reliant and achieve economic independence.
False Accusations and Public Persecution Awareness Training
In 2018, with the help of Assisting Children in Need, REFEADES provided awareness training to the community leaders of the village of Makobola on the impact of street justice (vigilantism) after 32 girls were falsely accused of witchcraft. These girls were nearly stoned to death and one of them was burned alive. Because of this, many of the accused girls had to give up their studies, and some even fled the community. After the awareness training, Assisting Children in Need decided to pay the school fees of those 32 girls so that they could rejoin their classes and reintegrate into their community.
This project was a major success for REFEADES as it helped to reduce street justice (vigilantism) in different parts of Eastern DRC. It increased the awareness of the local population on the grave consequences of false accusations and street justice.