This post was written by guest-blogger and Enough Project intern, Natalie Schreffler.
On March 6, the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign is partnering with the United Nations for an event to raise awareness about sexual violence in conflict and how it intersects with armed conflict, peace building, and the conflict minerals trade. In recognition of International Women’s Day, the event will highlight the importance of women’s participation in Congo’s peace process, urgent actions needed to end and prevent sexual violence, and the ways in which women’s movements can transition communities from war to peace. The event will feature a high-level panel of speakers and will be live-streamed.
In preparation for the event, the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, or CFCI, has launched a month-long social media campaign calling for the support of a comprehensive peace process for Congo that addresses root causes of violence—with a focus on economic drivers such as conflict minerals—and includes representatives from Congo’s civil society, especially women.
Students and activists can participate in the international social media campaign by taking pictures of themselves with a sign that says why peace in Congo is important. By tagging the posts with #CongoPeace, the platforms will trace the volume of students participating in the campaign. Hundreds of pictures will then be compiled and delivered to special envoys Russ Feingold and Mary Robinson, U.N. Special Representative Zainab Hawa Bangura, as well as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and other key policymakers to urge them to prioritize sustainable peace in Congo.
The overall goal of the campaign is to promote peace in Congo and dialogue about the ongoing sexual violence crisis. The surrender of rebel group M23 was an important first step to the peace process. Targeting illicit revenue streams to other rebel groups in the country will also promote security in the region. Women have a powerful role to play in shaping narratives, policy, and outcomes related to Congo’s peace process, and International Women’s Day is a useful forum for encouraging dialogue and progress towards Congo’s more inclusive, secure future.
Want to take part in the campaign? Follow these simple steps:
- Take a photo of yourself holding a sign that states why you think peace in Congo is important, followed by the hashtag #CongoPeace (ex: “Because women’s voices deserve to be heard – #CongoPeace”) and get friends, family, and strangers you pass on the street to do the same—group shots AND individual shots encouraged.
Be creative with your pictures! Then, before FEBRUARY 20th:
- Upload your photo to Facebook and tag the CFCI Facebook page
- Tweet your photo to @CFCIStudents using the hashtag #CongoPeace
- Instagram your photo and tag it as #CongoPeace
(Make sure you use the correct tags, otherwise we won't see the pictures and we won't be able to accurately reflect the strength of our movement!)
Photo: #congopeace Instagram submission (Raise Hope for Congo/ Enough Project)