OBR Democratic Republic of Congo Launch
24 November 2023

(Shared by Christine Schuler Deschryver – Director City of Joy Congo/ OBR DRC Coordinator)

One Billion Rising 2024 campaign is launched in the DRC

On the eve of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, City of Joy launches the One Billion Rising campaign with the aim of putting itself on the front line to fight against violence against women and girls. The target of the campaign was 16 teachers and around 300 pupils from Karhezi secondary located in Nyantende, about 10km south of the town of Bukavu. Other participants included city of joy residents and staff. The speakers of the day spoke on two themes, namely ( 1 ) the 16 activism against gender-based violence and ( 2 ) hegemonic masculinity and its perverse effects on socio-economic development.

The aim of the conference was to not only equip pupils and their teachers with knowledge about the ins and outs of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence but also and more importantly to make pupils and teachers from Karhezi secondary ambassadors and true actors of positive masculinity in their families, in their school and in their respective communities. Aligning with the theme 2023, the presenter communicated the origin of 16 days of activism and explained that for the year 2023 which launches the One Billion Rising 2024, City of Joy is committed to demanding the politicians, state institutions, and citizens so that they also commit to eliminating violence against women and girls, under the theme “Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls..”

The second presenter spoke about hegemonic masculinity and preached for its rival “positive masculinity”. In his introductory notes, he insinuated that for the year 2024 V- day will Rise For Freedom. And this freedom can only be won if all men and women come together to break free from toxic masculinity. He continued by saying that toxic masculinity enshrines the subordination of women, the non-respect of reproductive rights, the supremacy of men in decision-making, etc. This masculinity has perverse effects on society because it establishes the domination of man’s power and annihilates the development of women on all levels.

Considering the relevance of the theme, the discussions resulted in the pupils’ commitment. They have formed gender clubs which will fight all anti-values within their families and which will fight for the freedom of women and girls at school and in the community. They saw themselves as seeds of the revolution that will break all chains of domination, expropriation, subordination and sexist language to free girls and women from the system that perpetuates patriarchy.

Done in Bukavu on November 24, 2023