A sustainable year-round program
empowering girls and their communities
January 2020 – Current
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
40 community leaders
30,000 community members
Providing opportunities for girls to achieve gender equality and freedom from violence through art
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.
Year 1: July 2021-June 2022
> STEP 1 : Engage in collaborative program design and development with partners, participant recruitment, establishment of safe space for programming
> STEP 2 : Conduct a 2-month intensive training for 6 GAC team members and 10 mentors, building capacity in organizational development and program content and facilitation.
> STEP 3 : Commence girls programming with weekly sessions.
> STEP 4 : Assess program and plan for scaling for 2022-2023
This program, located in Goma in eastern DRC. has been affected by war for decades leaving lasting reverberations across a society with historically-rooted gender inequalities. Goma is home to approximately 1.5 million people throughout 18 neighborhoods. The Girl Awakening Program will begin in the neighborhood of Bujovu, which has a population of 48,000 and has one of the highest poverty rates in the city.
The well-being of girls in the DRC is in crisis.
13 of the 25 least developed countries in the world are in Francophone Africa and the largest of these is the DRC, home to 13 million girls and young women aged 10-24. Women and girls are the largest marginalized group facing particular challenges of violence, poverty, and exclusion. Unfortunately the situation is getting worse, with projected increases in extreme poverty, population growth, continuing conflict, and threats from climate change.
- DRC is in the top 10 countries for child marriage
- Gender-based violence is pervasive (75 % of girls and women believe wife beating is justified)
- Women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV – 2x as likely as men to be infected
- 46% of women and girls experience sexual violence
- Educational outcomes are poor—just over 1/3 of girls will complete primary school
Girls and women are both anchors and changemakers in their communities, filling essential roles and in a unique position to build better lives for themselves, their families and communities. We are committed to putting women and girls at the center of changemaking, an approach built in collaboration with the community.
Learn more about what we have accomplished to date on our blog
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.
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