Tag Archives: sexual and gender-based violence

Letter from Goma: Living through the Congolese conflict

Last week, conflict ramped up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Congolese rebel group M23 and the Congolese Armed Forces escalated fighting. At least 800,000 people have fled their homes in the DRC since the M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012 and laid siege to the city of Goma last December. In response, the United Nations has launched an intervention brigade with the strongest mandate in UN peacekeeping history.

However, civilians in North Kivu have begun protesting the intervention brigade, arguing that the UN has not done enough to protect civilians. This week, forces from DRC dropped bombs in Rwanda, creating a complex and controversial political situation. Rwanda has allegedly supported the M23 rebels and is now threatening retaliation. According to an AJWS consultant, the current situation is very unpredictable.

This post comes to Global Voices from Nelly Godelive Mbangu, who lives in Goma.

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From Puppet Theatre to Dancing about Condoms: Creativity and Innovation at the Global Village of the International AIDS Conference

At the International AIDS Conference, I’ve been spending a lot of time in The Global Village, a space with more than 280 organizations from all over the world demonstrating their ingenuity to fight HIV and AIDS by organizing networking zones, booths, art exhibits, theatre productions and film screenings. I took a tour of The Global Village and was overwhelmed by the creativity. Here are four organizations that are doing exceptional work and are living AJWS’s principles of social change: grassroots-based, human rights-focused and putting women and young people at the center:

Louis Chingandu, executive director of AJWS’s Zimbabwean grantee Southern Africa AIDS Network (SAFAIDS), leading a workshop in The Global Village.

Southern Africa AIDS Network (SAFAIDS)

SAFAIDS—an AJWS grantee based in Zimbabwe—developed an LGBTI Toolkit to share skills, tools and information to help people better understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). The toolkit specifically addresses how sexual orientation and gender identity relates to HIV and gender-based violence.

Youth from The CONDOMIZE! Project doing educational dance in The Global Village.

The CONDOMIZE! Project

With its colorful bright posters and entertaining dancers, The CONDOMIZE! Project highlights the effectiveness of male and female condoms for sexual health and rights. The organization calls on governments, donors and activists to intensify access to quality condoms as a primary defense against HIV. It advocates for investing resources and materials into promoting condom use as the most efficient and available prevention technology in the global AIDS response.


U-Tena uses puppets, drama and theatre to educate people about sexual and reproductive health rights in the Viwandani-Mukuru slums of Kenya. In front of a huge audience in The Global Village, U-Tena did a fantastic puppet show about a young HIV-positive girl and her boyfriend experiencing discrimination, neglect and stigma in their own community.

Interactive art exhibit from YAHAnet.

Youth, the Arts, HIV & AIDS Network (YAHAnet)

YAHAnet is an interdisciplinary networking platform that integrates public health, education, art and digital technology to help young people from around the world participate in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Terry Mukuka is an AJWS program officer for Africa.

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Providing Food, Preventing Violence: The Impact of Drought Relief in Northeastern Kenya

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping you updated on our response to the famine in East Africa. The situation remains dire, but we’re beginning to see the positive impact of some of our partners.

Take, for example, AJWS’s long-time partner Northern Aid (NAID)—an organization that has been implementing relief, rehabilitation and development initiatives in northeastern Kenya since 1995. Through an innovative, locally-sourced food distribution program, (NAID) is providing direct assistance to marginalized pastoralist communities and vulnerable female-headed households in northern Kenya. NAID is buying goats and cows that will not survive the drought, slaughtering the animals, and distributing the meat to over 10,000 vulnerable households. This is providing a livelihood to pastoralists whose entire herds will likely be wiped out by the drought, preventing livestock prices from completely bottoming out, and supplying much-needed income to pastoralists so they can support their families. NAID’s efforts are also delivering food to women and children and supporting at least 800 female headed households with animal feed to ensure that their remaining animals do not die from the drought and can provide a steady supply of milk.

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