On Friday, 30 November 2018, VDAY Congo launched One Billion Rising in DRC. The launch during the 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE centered on the call for action and solidarity and on V-Youth Rising. Participants were activists from the civil society and the community of City of Joy, V-Girls and V-Youth, school boys and girls, some teachers and headmasters, etc.
Two presentations were given on the launch. The first aimed to inform participants about What One Billion Rising means and what have been achieved in DRC since 2013. The second centered on why VDAY wants the rising to be a way of life – not just a campaign-to make the issue of violence against women an everyday fight. The aim of the two presentations was to invite all participants- boys and girls, children and old persons, men and women- to rise everyday and to make the rising a way of life against the scourge of violence.
On the launch of OBR, many persons rose. Some rose in solidarity with and for the protection of the civilians who are killed, kidnapped, molested and raped in the region of Beni. Others rose against domestic violence which is looming large in their homes. Many rose against corruption and plunder of minerals in the DR Congo. The youth rose against sexually transmitted marks in secondary schools, universities and colleges and against gender discrimination in schools. Children rose for children’s rights. Some powerful stories of activists and survivors of GBV were surreal and heartbreaking as they dealt with the brutalization of the women’s greatest resource (vagina), forced labor for children, violation of women’s rights, etc. A call for action, revolution and resistance, and solidarity was sent to make the fight bolder this year and an everyday issue.
Participants got engaged to rise everyday in their homes, schools, market places, churches, etc. to fight against forms of violence against women and girls such as incest, toxic masculinity, femicide, child and early marriage, reproductive oppression, etc.
The V-Youth campaign continues with OBR in order to “bring human rights education into the mainstream of youth work and youth policy”. In other words, the campaign continues to build on the potential of youth work to fight against the violation of women and girls in schools and families. It continues to center on the involvement of the youth from the civil society.
As a reminder, VDAY DRC developed mechanisms to provide background information on key human rights issues including gender base violence, hegemonic masculinity, gender mainstreaming, as well as practical activities to bring human rights issues closer to the young and to motivate young people advocate for women’s rights and equal chances for boys and girls. The education and training activities were intended to train young people on how to meet others and tell them to roll up their sleeves and leave the abyss and the man box. The virtual discussion (mostly on Facebook and whatsapp in the OBR & V-Youth rising facebook page and whatsapp group) is made and actions are posted to share what the youth rising achieves.
The network of V-youth focal points and clubs in schools and parishes with emphasis on activism and gender inclusion of young people from a human rights-based perspective with specific attention to policy areas particularly affecting young people, such as violence, hegemonic masculinity, social exclusion and discrimination in its multiple facets will be the pipe line of all the activities that will be implemented in schools and youth clubs.
In solidarity, let the rising be a way of life!
Done in Bukavu, 3 December 2018
VDAY DR Congo