A sustainable year-round program
empowering girls and their communities
through art

January 2020 – Current

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

80 girls
10 mentors
40 community leaders
30,000 community members

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

Girl Awakening
Musichana Hamuka in Swahili is our current long-term program and partnership with Les Étoiles Messagères, A Girls Arts Collective (GAC), born out of our previous two projects with girls in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In 2021 and 2022 we will

  • Provide training and technical support for GAC toward becoming an independent and sustainable
    female-led organization serving the girls of their community. 
  • Provide opportunities for 80 marginalized girls to build psychosocial and life skills through arts-based activities.
    Girls will gain skill sets and capabilities that help them to participate in their communities, local economies, support their families, and in turn contribute to the larger country goals of development and peace.
  • Foster and enrich community participation and leadership in ensuring the safety
    and well-being of women and girls.
  • Train 10 young women mentors and pair them with girls to provide role models,
    and build trusted and supportive relationships with adolescent girls 
  • Engage 40 community leaders through a community arts council that will guide the program
    and work together to shift existing access to resources and services, reforming systems
    to increase equal access for girls. 
  • Provide scholarships for all girl participants of the program to pursue their education
    with support of les Étoiles Messagères staff.  
  • Reach 30,000 community members through public art engagement.  

This program provides resources and support for girls in Goma to effect positive change for themselves and their community in the pursuit of equality and freedom from violence. 

Read More

Community Resources and Risks Map 

Core to changing existing gender discrimination and violence is understanding how it is perpetuated and developing strategies to address it. Unequal access to community resources and exposure to risks and threats plays a big role. Over 120 resources and risks have been identified in this community mapping exercise in Bujovu that we conducted in 2020 with les Étoiles Messagères. It is the first of its kind to ever be done in the DRC. In our next program steps we will utilize this map, working with our partners to identify ways to increase access for girls to resources and services that they are not getting equal access to, and to reduce girls’ 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.

Les Étoiles Messagères

A Girls Arts Collective: is a women-led group supporting girls and young women through art 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

Tides Logo

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

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

Colors of Connection Projects