Local advocacy for the protection of saleswomen – Democratic Republic of the Congo
DOI 10.21201 / 2021.7963
By Gracia Kambale Bahwere, Protection Coordinator at Oxfam
For several decades, there was no market in the community of Kihuma or, more specifically, in central Kihuma. However, the sector leader of Osso Banyungu officially authorized the opening of a local market in this locality around 1994. This decision was never implemented. The women went to sell their agricultural products in the center of Masisi (capital of Masisi territory), a commune located 12 km from Kihuma. Along the road, these women were victims of rape and various other attacks (collection of their food, extortion of goods, etc.) by unidentified armed men and elements of the armed forces at the level of barriers illegally erected on the road. along the section of road between Masisi and central Kihuma.
Once these various obstacles were overcome, the women sold their agricultural products at the prices imposed by the vendors in the center of Masisi. They were forced to accept these imposed prices for fear of having to return to Kihuma with heavy loads on their backs. They made no profit from the agricultural products harvested from their fields.
What has been done (actions taken by community members: CPS and PFO)
A session was held in Kihuma to develop a plan for the protection of women, with the participation of local authorities. Following this session, the women members of the women’s forum (WF) and farmers’ organizations (OPF) made a presentation to the leader of the group on the protection risks faced by women who will sell their agricultural products at the market in the center. by Masisi. They also negotiated a site where a local market could be set up to allow them to sell their agricultural products locally.
Result / solution
The members of the structure engaged with the group leader during the session for the development of the protection plan for women in order to mitigate these protection risks. The group leader called a meeting with the village (locality) heads and together they succeeded in allocating a plot of land for the creation of a local market. This reduces the risks faced by women who go to sell their products in the center of Masisi. Currently, this market operates in Kihuma (one of the localities targeted by the project in the DRC). Vendors from the center of Masisi (the capital of the territory) are starting to come to the center of Kihuma to buy agricultural products. This attracts farmers from the villages surrounding Kihuma to sell their produce at this market.