Theatre, music and dance as tools for sensitization on the zero tolerance policy

21 Jan 2017

Theatre, music and dance as tools for sensitization on the zero tolerance policy

MONUSCO campaigns through dance and theatre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Conduct and Discipline Team (CDT) in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), in close collaboration with the Center for Mentoring Youth of the Pastoral Diocesan Chaplaincy and Vocation of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, organised a campaign to raise awareness of the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. The campaign focused on the different forms of abuse likely to be faced by young girls and women living within close proximity to MONUSCO bases and camps. Through dance and theatre, the actors projected and explained in simple language that exploitative sexual relationships between MONUSCO personnel and members of the local population are prohibited by Mission rules. The presentation also encouraged people to report without delay any incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse to MONUSCO authorities for appropriate action.

The campaign was launched by the CDT in May 2016 in Goma, in the presence of the Minister of Family and Children and representatives of the Governor of North Kivu and UN agencies in Goma. It depicted scenes from the daily life in the villages and highlighted a relationship between a Congolese girl and a military peacekeeper. The child became pregnant as a result of the relationship and her family reported the incident to the Mission for action. A national investigation substantiated the allegation against the soldier and he was repatriated to his country and duly sanctioned.

Through the use of music and dance, the theatre group depicted to the audience other types of conduct prohibited under the zero tolerance policy on SEA. Prohibited actions which were highlighted included exchanging food, money or other material things for sexual favours. The performance emphasised the possible consequences of sexual exploitation and abuse for victims, including unplanned pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The play also addressed issues related to prostitution, the role of families, and local customs and values.

The project was funded by MONUSCO and contributed to restoring the confidence of the population in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo towards MONUSCO’s efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse. It allowed the population to gain a thorough understanding of the zero tolerance policy that is strictly applied by the Mission and to improve knowledge of existing mechanisms for reporting sexual exploitation and abuse.

Wide-scale outreach activities on sexual exploitation and abuse were undertaken in June 2016 by the CDT among the youth of Saké village. Through dialogue, questions were answered on the zero tolerance policy to ensure understanding of the message, including knowledge of reporting mechanisms and victim assistance. Following the discussions, t-shirts, caps and pens were distributed to the participants.

The outreach campaign was carried out from June to September 2016, and it will be followed up with a mobile sensitization campaign for sexual exploitation and abuse from  February to May 2017 in the provinces of Ituri (Bunia), North Kivu (Beni, Goma, Sake) and South Kivu (Bukavu and Kavumu and Uvira).