The Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region: A FRAMEWORK OF HOPE
Global Fund for Women is partnering with the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General to help women bring peace to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, where war has traumatized the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for two decades.
Women’s voices and leadership are desperately needed to help resolve a conflict that has seen six million deaths and hundreds of thousands of rapes.
Millions of women have lost their lives, family members, livelihoods, and property, and many were abducted to join armed groups and to serve as sex slaves. Yet – despite the acute and disproportionate impact of the conflict on women – women are vastly under-represented in the peace-building process.
A new way forward
In 2013, the governments of the Great Lakes region, along with the United Nations, African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the Southern African Development Community committed to ending the conflicts in eastern DRC once and for all. The PSC Framework, also called the Framework of Hope, signed in February 2013, is a peace agreement to stop the cycles of conflict by resolving their root causes.
To support the implementation of the peace agreement, the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region established and launched an initiative to empower women as peace-makers and leaders. This unique effort is called The Women’s Platform for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (Women’s Platform). The Women’s Platform gives grants to women’s groups in Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda to implement local activities on peace, livelihoods, and women’s rights.
Some examples of early achievements include:
- Peace-building and collaboration. Women’s groups in DRC and Burundi joined across borders. They formed a network to hold community discussions to foster reconciliation, understanding, and collaboration. Working with judges, the police, the army, local officials, political parties, NGOs, traditional leaders, and universities, women leaders developed joint action plans to implement the Framework of Hope.
- Awareness of the peace process. One women’s group based in Rwanda created awareness on the Peace Framework and shared reports with governments in the region. The group has also reviewed the effectiveness of the peace agreements, identified gaps, and made recommendations.
- Justice for rape survivors. In DRC, one grantee partner has accompanied women and girl survivors of violence into the courtroom. Due to the group’s advocacy efforts, the public prosecutor in Kavumu convicted rape perpetrators, and the police are making more arrests.
- Food scarcity and sustainable agriculture. A grantee in Burundi trained women on agricultural techniques and market research. This work increased the yields of the women’s crops, improved their livelihoods, and established five new farm associations. This work is crucial given high rates of food scarcity and hunger in areas impacted by war.
- Clean energy and economic empowerment. In Rwanda, a women’s group has trained 96 women as trainers in clean energy technologies. These women have collectively trained 2413 women in the assembly and marketing of energy-saving stoves in order to save women’s labor and create viable businesses.
The five implementing partners for the Women’s Platform include:
- The U.N. Special Envoy’s Office
- Global Fund for Women
- The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
- Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises
- UN Women
The Women’s Platform receives funding from the Dutch and Irish governments, Oak Foundation, and several individual donors.
For further information about the Women’s Platform, please contact:
Lisa Block, Program Officer, Freedom from Violence, Global Fund for Women, San Francisco, USA
For more information about Global Fund for Women’s work on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, please download our impact report.