MONUSCO launches projects to assist victims of sexual exploitation and abuse
The United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) inaugurated in May in Sake, 27 km west of Goma (North Kivu), several projects in support of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN and related personnel.
These projects aim to strengthen communities through vocational training of young people and women who are victims and/or exposed to sexual exploitation, abuse and other forms of violence, and give them opportunities so that they do not have to engage in transactional sex. This initiative will also facilitate the reintegration of victims within their home environment.
“Siku ya Mazingira” (SYAM), a local organization and UN partner in charge of implementing the projects, also plans to reinforce awareness-raising and complaint mechanisms so that at-risk communities can safely report allegations.
Housed in a building inaugurated on the occasion, vulnerable women and victims of abuse will be able to take their lives into their own hands by practicing mushroom farming, sewing, baking, soap-making, improved cooking, hairdressing and animal husbandry.
In total, more than 500 community members will be able to learn a trade there, produce food and generate income.
Opening the ceremony on behalf of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC, MONUSCO Chief of staff Nancee Oku Bright said that these projects are part of the UN's global efforts to prevent and combat this scourge.
Since 2013, MONUSCO has been working with communities so that "not only the host communities but also staff are effectively protected from the devastating consequences that may result from these interactions," she said.
The ceremony was attended by victims and their families, local government officials, community leaders and MONUSCO representatives.
Funded by the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse at a cost of US $ 175,000 with contributions from Japan and Norway, these projects target the provinces of North and South Kivu, including the towns of Sake, Bujovu, Munigi and Kavumu.
Other victim assistance projects funded through the same mechanism are under preparation in Liberia and the Central African Republic.