This regional project aims to increase protection and respect for the physical and moral integrity of girls and young women in the Great Lakes region. The project is divided into three components: (1) the development and implementation of protocols for assisting victims; (2) community awareness-raising through education, training, and political dialogue in order to promote a change in the way victims are perceived and treated; (3) support for the Coalition of Collectives of Associations Working for the Advancement of Women in the Great Lakes Region (COCAFEM/GL). COCAFEM/GL is a network of 11 collectives of women’s organizations from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. The network brings together the associations with the most experience in combatting violence towards girls and young women in the region. The goal of this project is for COCAFEM/GL to become recognized nationally, regionally, and internationally for its influence in the fight against sexual violence. This component represents the first part of CIDA’s contribution to the project, which is worth $13.5 million in total. The activities initiated in this component continue in component number A033944-002 (Combatting Violence Against Girls and Young Women in the Great Lakes Region – II).
The results obtained until March 2017 include: (1) 36 media outlets were used to broadcast COCAFEM/GL messages this year (exceeding the target of 30); (2) 13 grant applications were submitted over the course of the year, 4 of which received a positive response, 2 were rejected, 2 concept notes were accepted, and an invitation to respond to a call for proposals was issued; (3) of 11 legal cases before the courts, 8 were closed (2 in DRC and 6 in Rwanda), including 7 in favour of the victims. Since the beginning of the project, 237 legal decisions were rendered out of the 812 complaints submitted (29%); (4) 416 beneficiaries received financial support for socio-economic reintegration; and (5) among the 520 couples who received training on equality between women and men, 70% of women and 73% of men testified to positive changes in Burundi, 63% of couples in DRC testified that they now live in harmony, while 84% of couples affirmed the same result in Rwanda.