Kashindi, a widow and mother of six, has something to celebrate. After her husband’s death, her in-laws pressured her to marry her brother-in-law. When she refused, they responded by selling her house and land. However, with the assistance of Solidarité des Femmes Activistes pour la Défense des Droits Humains [Women Activists in Solidarity for the Defense of Human Rights (SOFAD)], Kashindi got her home back.
Continued armed conflict, lack of rule of law, and high rates of gender-based violence are a daily reality for women in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In this context, stories like Kashindi’s are common. SOFAD, one of the Global Fund’s long-term partners in the DRC, has established over 60 peace networks in villages throughout the South Kivu Province. With cadres of trained women’s activists, these networks promote women’s rights, address sexual abuses and even expose weapons at the local level. One such network successfully arbitrated Kashindi’s case.
SOFAD’s peace networks have impacted the lives of over 20,000 women and children in the DRC by arbitrating women’s cases, conducting legal and civic education, and raising awareness of women’s rights at the village level. This is how SOFAD is building the women’s movement: from the ground up.