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Women in the DR Congo demand a seat at the peace table: ‘This is our action plan’

News Gender equity
Democratic Republic of the Congo -

The recent attacks on refugee settlements in Goma show the worrying escalation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also underscores the urgency and need to involve women in peace processes. Women from five affected provinces are raising their voices, demanding a more significant role in peace negotiations.

A group of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Participants of the forum in Mai-Ndombe Province. Image: WPHF/Cordaid

The Sauti Ya Mama Mkongomani platform and the Collectif des Associations Féminines (CAFED), have organised several forums in partnership with Cordaid and supported by the United Nations Women Peace Humanitarian Fund.

The gatherings offered a stage to 175 female ambassadors and mediators, bringing together women from varied backgrounds, marginalised groups, political leaders, and women’s organisations.


Participant Caddy Adzuba highlights the importance of understanding the experiences of women survivors of conflict to develop functional peacebuilding mechanisms: ‘We must focus not only on women in leadership positions but also on those at the grassroots level. This will allow more women to become ambassadors and mediators in the DRC’s peace process, ensuring their voices are influential.’

The impact of the conflicts on women and girls has been particularly harsh, exposing them to sexual and gender-based violence. Yet, they have often been sidelined from the peace talks.

Women have, however, historically played crucial roles in peace processes. During the 2002 talks in Sun City, for example, which helped end the Second Congo War and set up a new government.

Principal recommendations per province

Participants from North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Tanganyika, and Mai-Ndombe shared their insights and crafted action points specific to the context of each province. While the recommendations vary across regions, they reflect the collective vision of Congolese women for peace.

Slide through the image gallery to see the quotes of the participants:

North Kivu:
We ask our government to accelerate demobilisation and start a dialogue with neighbour countries – Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya – to stop the terror in North Kivu caused by the international armed groups.

We propose that local, rather than state authorities resolve land conflicts – strictly within the law framework to prohibit unlawful land division.

South Kivu:
We advocate for equal participation of women in decision-making bodies, particularly within conflict prevention and management. There needs to be a strategic involvement of more women in peacekeeping operations.

We request initiating a dialogue between the Teke and Yaka communities to stop violent land disputes. It should be facilitated by the national government and organised in Kinshasa, with active participation of women.

We call for the involvement of women in both formal and informal peace processes in the DRC.

We propose the construction of women’s peace huts in cities and villages so that women can resolve inter-communal conflicts before they become community-wide armed ones.

We advocate for meaningful participation of women in decision-making bodies to increase their involvement in peace negotiation processes and decision-making forums, equipping them with more skills and capabilities to address key issues in our country.

Following the forum, we are taking matters into our own hands and organising a one-week session for capacity-building in advocacy.