Women of Peace
Supporting Women Peacebuilders in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Artisanal Mining Communities
The Women of Peace project supports women artisanal miners to become peacebuilders in their communities.
In a patriarchal society, where the traditional decision makers are often men, the project supports women to be at the heart of peaceful solutions to conflicts and disputes relevant to them and their families.
Women in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province have come together to establish the Network for the Empowerment of Women in Mining Communities (known by its French acronym REAFECOM)—the first association of women artisanal miners in the province. The Women of Peace project supports the members of REAFECOM to increase their skills as mediators to decrease and prevent conflict in the artisanal mining communities and surrounding mine sites. The project promotes women’s leadership in peace and security.
Artisanal mining most often takes place in areas where security and human rights are at risk. In Ituri Province’s Mambasa Territory, questions continue around land and natural resource rights, as well as who benefits from natural resources. In addition, ethnic and inter-community tensions can drive conflict, as well as the migration of populations fleeing armed conflict from other regions. The local community continues to be at risk from the presence of armed groups and security forces, and the isolated location of mine sites deep in the forest poses security risks, in particular to women and girls.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, and following resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, incorporated women’s active participation in peacebuilding and decision making, as well as included a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations. The project amplifies the milestones achieved internationally, and supports women in artisanal mining communities to meaningfully raise their concerns, propose solutions, and contribute to the peace and security dialogue moving forward.
In partnership with REAFECOM and local organizations, Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix Intégrale (SOFEPADI) and Club des Volontaires pour l’Appui aux Peuples Autochtones (CVAP), we will undertake a participative mapping of artisanal mining communities and mine sites to analyze the security situation for women and girls, identifying potential risks they face, as well as support services available.
Together with REAFECOM, we are launching community-based Peace Hubs, located at the artisanal mining communities and mine sites. The Peace Hub members will be trained in conflict prevention and resolution, with women gaining new skills in mediation and negotiation. The Peace Hubs will organize a series of five dialogues across the communities on women, peace, and security—allowing women in the area to actively participate in efforts towards peace and non-violence.
Through the Women of Peace project, women in Democratic Republic of Congo’s artisanal mining communities will increase their security and move towards gender equality.
The Women of Peace project is funded by the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and Global Affairs Canada. The 15 month project launched in October 2018.
Meet REAFECOM: Congo’s Women Artisanal Gold Miners Together in Solidarity
Meet the Network for the Empowerment of Women in Mining Communities (known by the French acronym REAFECOM), the first association of women artisanal gold miners in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province.
Formed in May 2018, REAFECOM to represent their interests as women artisanal miners, with a goal of promoting women’s rights in their communities. In the video, Apoline, the elected president of REAFECOM, shares the importance of the network in amplifying women’s voices from the community.
Video by Sven Torfinn/IMPACT