Providing resources and support to girls and young women
in Goma, DRC to effect positive change for themselves
and their community towards equality and freedom from violence.

January 2020 – Current

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

284 girls
8 mentors
40 community leaders
30,000 community members

Providing opportunities for girls to achieve gender equality and freedom from violence through art

Participant speaking to community members about the program and public mural themed on equal rights and responsibilities
between boys and girls, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2021. Credit: Guerchom Ndebo

Girl Awakening supports girls and young women in an urban, densely populated neighborhood in Goma. We have been systematically and collaboratively building this project with local partners since 2020.

Celebrating International Day of the Girl with participants of Colors of Connection’s Girl Awakening Program in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 11 2021 Photo Credit: Pamela Tulizo

Goma is the largest urban center in the eastern DRC, a region plagued by decades of conflict that is a difficult and dangerous environment for girls and women where they face constant violence and abuse. Here, we engage with girls and young women who are on the frontlines of organizing for change their communities, and also one of the most marginalized groups.  Girl Awakening provides a safe female-only space where they can meet regularly, learn, build solidarity, and develop strategies for change. They learn essential life skills, develop voice and expression, and are provided with a school scholarship.

Girl Awakening’s vision is to offer continuous year-round support for girls and women, with a scalable model for growth. 

Our strategy is to start in a concentrated area and expand. If all girls are reached within a given area, they will have strong solidarity networks and be able to support each other, defending their human rights and effecting social norms and positive change. Not only will they be better equipped to create the lives they want for themselves, but they will influence girls in other communities, creating a ripple effect that amplifies impact ultimately improving conditions, and creating opportunities which in turn effectively shifts power toward girls and women. 


In 2021 and 2022 we are

  • Tripling our reach to include 250 girls total. 
  • Securing a safe female-only space where girls and young women in the neighborhood
    can meet regularly, learn, build solidarity, and develop strategies for change.  
  • Providing opportunities for girls to engage artistically, developing agency and voice
    and supporting their mental health 
  • Providing opportunities for girls to learn essential and basic life skills like managing
    their menstrual cycle and reproductive health and understanding their rights and consent. 
  • Investing in skills-building of 8 young women mentors as they build trusted
    and supportive relationships with adolescent girls in their community.  
  • Providing knowledge sharing and training opportunities for our local partner 
    on their path to becoming an independent and sustainable female-led organization
    serving the girls of their community.   
  • Connecting girls to resources and services from which they are excluded
    but which are essential to their human rights such as basic health checks, access to
    loans and savings accounts, recreational spaces, and education.  
  • Working with community leaders (40) and girls’ parents, to ensure the safety
    and well-being of women and girls in the neighborhood. Such as providing adult supervision
     when girls cross dangerous roads, and taking actions to prevent minors from working in the (23) brothels
    in the neighborhood including one next to a recreational center.  
  • Providing scholarships for all girl program participants to pursue their education 
  • Reaching 30,000 community members through public art engagement that 
    express girls’ viewpoints and visions.  
  • Organizing forums where mentors and girls dialogue with community about the
    public art they are making and girls and women’s rights and issues.  

Participants painting in Bujovu, Goma Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 2021

Community Resources and Risks Map 

Unequal access to community resources and exposure to risks is one of the root causes of gender-based discrimination and violence.  We use a GPS community mapping tool to work strategically with community leaders, parents, and young women and girls to increase girls’ access resources and services and to reduce their exposure to the risks.  


We are a coalition of partners
bringing evidence-based program tools, local perspective and leadership
and expertise in the arts for the adolescent girl population to this program.

Tulizo Elle Space (TES) provides an inspiring space for girls and woman to develop through art and creativity in Goma, DRC.

Population Council Logo

The Population Council, a research-based international non-profit offers us guidance and support for evidence-based program design.  The Population Council has the world’s largest body of research on programs to improve the lives of adolescent girls in developing countries.

Community Arts Council

Key local stakeholders brought together as an advisory council to guide the program

Made possible with support from

Learn more about what we have accomplished to date on our blog

And why we believe it is critical to invest in girls and women in the DRC on Medium

Learn about our previous projects that laid the groundwork for this one
Courage in Congo and Tunaweza Portraits