The Conduct and Discipline team of MONUSCO office in Beni, North Kivu, organized on March 26 an awareness-raising workshop for vulnerable women, generally referred to as “free women” in other words unmarried women, on the fight against exploitation and sexual abuse. The objective was to inform them about the mechanisms put in place by the Mission in the context of this fight.
“The workshop fits into the framework of the United Nations Secretary-General’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, which consists in doing prevention, by taking the necessary measures so that no act of sexual abuse and exploitation are committed when United Nations personnel are on missions”, declared Mbette Mbainadjim, the head of the Conduct and Discipline Team of MONUSCO in Beni.
Such awareness-raising sessions are organized regularly with the blue helmets, civilian personnel and MONUSCO police. It is about the relations they should maintain with the populations they have come to serve when they are in operation.
For their part, community members are made aware of their rights, the behavior the blue helmets or United Nations personnel in general should adopt and on how to report abuses and seek help. Community leaders, too, often see their capacities strengthened on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse.
This is how the Conduct and Discipline Team targeted around fifty persons in a situation of vulnerability and who are the most exposed, to discuss with them the mechanisms put in place by MONUSCO for complaints in the event of abuse.
The workshop fits into the framework of the United Nations Secretary-General’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, which consists in doing prevention
Denise Kasika Lisette, one of the women who attended this training said, “I congratulate those who have organized this workshop. It helped me to know my rights and to make my dignity respected”. She emphasized that from now on, if her dignity is violated, she knows where to go to complain and how to regain her rights.
MONUSCO has made available a hotline to allow community members to report cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Nzuma neighborhood chief, Josué Kapisa, a member of the Community Complaints Channeling Network (CBCN) believes this workshop will bring a lot to these women. “We gave them the tips. Today, in the event of a problem, they know where to go to follow up on their case.”
The women’s associations of Beni and the Gender, Family and Child office which actively participated in this workshop say for their part that the initiative is to be welcomed and duplicated so that as many people as possible are informed.
This is what Ms. Ruth Sabuni, Head of the Gender, Family and Child Office underscored: “These women were forgotten targets. The workshop allowed us to reconnect them with society. They are now informed. They know how to alert, how to direct complaints and how to follow up on their case. That’s very important. Therefore, we must organize more similar activities,” she concluded.