GIRL AWAKENING

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

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

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

Goma, DRC 
A country where 70% of the population lives below the poverty line and decades of violent conflict has created heightened insecurity and violence.   
Girls, because of their gender and age are a societal sector most impacted.   

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

The well-being of girls in the DRC is in crisis

The enormous challenges girls face on a daily basis prevents them from reaching their full potential. 

  • DRC is in the top 10 countries with child marriage 
  • Gender-based violence is pervasive and culturally tolerated  – 75% of girls and women believe that wife-beating is justified.
  • HIV affects 2x more women and girls than men and boys
  • Sexual violence is experienced by 46% of women and girls
  • Educational outcomes are poor—just over 1/3 of girls will complete primary school
  • By age 40 45% of girls today in the DRC will be single mothers and sole supporters of themselves and their children

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 close the multiple (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 expressing 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.  

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 projects with girls in Goma, DRC    

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.  


Partners

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

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