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Eastern Congo learns how to stand up for its rights

Chris Simoens
01 July 2019
The NGO KBA teaches 1000 youngsters in Bukavu how to defend their rights. The organisation wishes to unite the entire population around this initiative, an essential step to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants.

 

Corruption and impunity are an indisputable reality in the public services of eastern Congo. Even fundamental basic services are not free of charge. There are constantly soldiers along the roads who enforce tolls. Not to mention the violence committed against women in the region.

It is obvious that this situation is putting a heavy burden on the entrepreneurial spirit of the local population which, unlike the elite, wants to improve its living conditions.

The NGO KBA intends to take up this challenge, together with its local partner Juste Cause Congo (JCC). JCC wants to make the inhabitants of Bukavu aware of their rights and encourage them to stand up for them. As taxpayers for instance, they have the right to demand to participate in the management of public budgets and services.

The population also learns to denounce the violation of human rights and to fight against arbitrarily imposed taxes and corrupt practices. People also have to express their opposition when mining companies want to carry out abusive expropriations.

 

The participants are all strongly committed to human rights and peace, and highly motivated to bring about a mentality change.

Good governance committees

How does JCC intend to achieve this? The organisation starts with 27 basic groups with a total of 1000 young people, the so-called “good governance and human rights committees”: 22 groups of young villagers from 4 regions and 5 groups university and college students of Bukavu.

The participants are all strongly committed to human rights and peace, and highly motivated to bring about a mentality change. Once the basic groups have been fully prepared, they in turn will encourage the people in the neighbourhoods or villages to join in the change process.

A difficult mission, but not impossible. JCC wants to train the members of the good governance and human rights committees so that they are able to carry out critical analyses and to ensure an adequate  follow up on their local governments. They also learn to enter into dialogue with the 'elected representatives' and the local authorities.

All in all, JCC aspires to become a real 'movement' that triggers a dynamic in which the population takes the initiative to improve its living conditions.

 

 

This project is part of a five-year programme, co-financed by the Belgian Development Cooperation.

KBA is a government-recognised NGO of international solidarity, specialised in strengthening African civil society. Members of local organisations are empowered to perfect themselves through specific training in the necessary areas. The Christian-inspired operation of KBA is based on the universal values of solidarity, justice and humanism.

 

 

DR Congo Human rights Governance