Oxfam International Blogs - DRC http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/drc en Democratic Republic of Congo: Supporting women's rights and addressing the root causes of the conflict http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-04-07-supporting-womens-rights-root-causes-conflict-democratic-republic-congo <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>With just 48 hours to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, there was no time to lose</strong> once we crossed the border into Goma from Rwanda. I was travelling with <a href="https://twitter.com/Mark_Goldring1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Mark Goldring</strong></a> of Oxfam GB and Robbert van den Berg, the regional director for <a href="http://www.oxfamnovib.nl/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam Novib</strong></a>. Our mission was to visit our humanitarian programs, and assess progress since the signing of a major regional peace accord last year.</p> <p>Decades of conflict in eastern Congo have created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. One of Africa’s largest countries, <strong><a href="http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/Country-Profiles/COD.pdf" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">DRC is ranked</a></strong> 186 out of 187 countries worldwide on the Human Development Index, despite its abundant natural resources.</p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam’s work in the country</strong></a> combines short-term emergency relief with longer-term development projects, including providing clean water and sanitation to communities, hospitals and schools, protection programs, and distribution of vouchers for food.</p> <p>First up, a security briefing and then a visit to the governor of the province of North Kivu, Julien Paluku. Our first impressions of Goma were out the window of an Oxfam vehicle, and as we bumped along the lava-strewn road, I could make out the volcano Nyiragongo in the distance. It last erupted in 2002, swallowing most of the city of Goma. Luckily the population was able to evacuate in time and there were few casualties. But the black rocks of lava are still strewn across the city's roads, the lava dust gets everywhere.</p> <p>With governor Paluku we were able to get an introduction to some of the humanitarian issues facing communities in North Kivu, as well as get a taste of politics in eastern Congo. The governor has been in power for seven years and is an old hand.</p> <blockquote><p>Children of <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Congo&amp;src=hash" rel="nofollow">#Congo</a> at a refugee camp. What is the future for them? Why can't regional leaders work together 4 peace? <a href="http://t.co/TTDQ9eYA0k" rel="nofollow">pic.twitter.com/TTDQ9eYA0k</a></p> <p>— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/statuses/452706921813114880" rel="nofollow">April 6, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <h3>Supporting peace</h3> <p>Next up, we drove to the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC, <a href="http://monusco.unmissions.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>MONUSCO</strong></a>, on Lake Kivu. Head of office for North Kivu, <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/status/452697657665150976" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Ray Torres used maps</strong></a> to outline the upcoming operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the largest <a href="http://monusco.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=10727&amp;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>illegal foreign armed group</strong></a> operating in the DRC. Mr. Torres also touched on the issue of Rwandan refugees in DRC - estimated to number 180,000 - and told us about the challenge of protecting civilians in a context where members of armed groups often don't wear uniform and may live with their dependents.</p> <p>We also discussed how to provide aid to areas in eastern Congo which have been cleared of armed groups thanks to joint operations by the Congolese army and MONUSCO's new brigade with a mandate to 'neutralise' armed groups. How can we do this in such a way that the aid is delivered according to need, and not for political goals?</p> <p>Our dinner that night was by the lake, surrounded by humanitarian and development partners to talk about their activities and their hopes and fears for the future.</p> <p>The next day, we packed wellingtons and umbrellas for a three hour drive up to Kitchanga, in a part of North Kivu called <strong><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/8209133262/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Masisi</a>.</strong> As we drove, I saw so many women walking along the roads, carrying very heavy loads on their heads and backs.</p> <p>Kitchanga that has been badly affected by recent fighting between armed group the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) and the Congolese army - we heard stories from men and women who had been forced to flee their homes and fields in order to seek refuge in the town. On the way back to Goma later that day we also visited <a href="https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=8470194@N02&amp;q=bulengo" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Bulengo</strong></a>, a camp where an Oxfam water pump is still in operation, although we are no longer involved in the program, it is now being very effectively run by <a href="http://www.mercycorps.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Mercy Corps</strong></a>, providing water for tens of thousands of people in the camp.</p> <blockquote><p>I was moved by the passion, commitment &amp; risks taken daily by these Congolese women leaders.They will rebuild Congo! <a href="http://t.co/hRyApxYkAz" rel="nofollow">pic.twitter.com/hRyApxYkAz</a></p> <p>— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/statuses/452713868989833217" rel="nofollow">April 6, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <h3>Supporting women's rights</h3> <p>The next day, we met with civil society leader Omar Kavota to talk about the challenges facing democratic process here. This was followed by a meeting with a group of women leaders - lawyers, activists and NGO leaders - to talk about their concerns.</p> <p>I highlighted my respect for their work with human rights defenders and explained my background as a women's rights activist, asking the provocative question 'are Congolese men worse than other men?'</p> <p>In this way, the group of women leaders took the cue to reflect on the root causes of the conflict, and the role gender plays in DRC's root causes, rather than focusing on what are sometimes referred to as the 'symptoms' of the conflict, such as the sexual violence.</p> <p>I encouraged the group to step up their advocacy on a gendered perspective on the root causes of the conflict, to coordinate more, to be more radical and for Oxfam to coordinate and support their actions.</p> <p>Last up, a quick chat with the staff working for Oxfam in North Kivu, a photo opportunity with my wonderful colleagues (below) and a quick chat with UN radio station in DRC, <a href="http://radiookapi.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Radio Okapi</strong></a>, before we headed to the border with Rwanda. Goodbye DRC, see you soon.</p> <p></p> <p><em>Across the DRC, over 2.75 million people have been forced to flee their homes within the country, and over 398,000 are dependent on the resources provided in 31 camps. Oxfam has been responding to needs in camps in eastern Congo, delivering clean water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, livelihood support, and food programs.</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-05-still-living-fear-congo"><strong>Still living in fear in the Congo</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Read Oxfam’s report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-in-the-balance-protection-eastern-drc-270114-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">In the Balance, searching for protection in eastern DRC</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Watch: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2013/oxfam-delivering-water-belungo-camp-democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow">Oxfam delivering water to Belungo camp, Democratic Republic of the Congo </a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-31-how-can-we-help-create-more-women-leaders"><strong>How can we help create more women leaders?</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Democratic Republic of Congo: Supporting women&#039;s rights and addressing the root causes of the conflict</h2></div> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:07:35 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10646 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-04-07-supporting-womens-rights-root-causes-conflict-democratic-republic-congo#comments Still living in fear in the Congo http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-05-still-living-fear-congo <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>This post comes to us from Jean Pierre Buledi, Program Officer/Research and Documentation, with Oxfam's local partner in the DRC, The Centre for Documentation and Civic Education (CEDAC).</em></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-11-11/communities-still-risk-military-action-eastern-drc-civilians" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>defeat of the M23</strong></a> rebel group by the Congolese army was big news last year. We all hoped that the business of getting on with life could return. But decades of extreme violence, lawlessness and the lack of accountable government authorities in my country could not disappear overnight.</p> <p>My organization, CEDAC (The Centre for Documentation and Civic Education) wanted to see how life on the ground was changing for the communities of South Kivu. Our work typically takes us into rural Congo, where we teach groups about democratic processes, the functioning of public offices, and good governance. We train communities to understand the importance of monitoring all processes, including democratic processes like the local elections. When we visit communities to learn about their concerns, we hear that violence and threats are now entrenched.</p> <h3>Continuing violence</h3> <p>Violence continues to flourish because the state does not consistently provide protection and state authorities themselves frequently threaten vulnerable communities.</p> <p>Too often, members of the police and army are left to find their own ways to survive for themselves and their families. <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" rel="nofollow"><strong>Decades of conflict</strong> </a>have left the Democratic Republic of the Congo without the resources for education, health and a robust police force.</p> <h3>Supporting women</h3> <p>A rural woman, who has never been able to go to school, who has no economic power, is an easy target; Not only for armed groups but also for the army, the police, and even certain local leaders. Women’s important role in growing food and bringing it to market appears to be making them a target for taxation and fines at checkpoints on the way to the market.. Programs run by CEDAC are making headway; our training involves educating women to read and write, and to learn about their rights. CEDAC also documents abuses, refers them to court, and supports women to demand justice.</p> Many communities continue to be affected by the conflict, with fishermen and farmers often having to share a portion of their yields with both armed groups and military. Photo: Aimee Brown/Oxfam <h3>Rampant exploitation</h3> <p>More than 1.7 million people remain displaced across North and South Kivu, and people remain a valuable economic commodity for armed actors to exploit.</p> <p>I’ve heard of a case where a farm owner in South Kivu got some soldiers in to guard his farm while he was away. They put up a barrier and demanded 200 Congolese francs (25 cents) from each person who passed by. They said it was for them to eat. When the community leader heard about this practice, he went to see the army commander – for a day the practice stopped, only to start the following day.</p> <h3>Hope for peace?</h3> <p>The <a href="http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/peace-security-and-cooperation-framework-for-drc-and-the-region-signed-in-addis-ababa" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Peace and Security Cooperation Framework</strong></a> offers some hope – that more security in our villages would also mean that more children will be educated, and learn how to hold their government accountable.  I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time, but there’s a long way to go. There will have to be real change, not just talk. More honesty and more justice. Then we will see long-lasting stability in the eastern DRC and we can live our lives without fear.</p> <p>Will things change for the Congo?</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Read Oxfam’s report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-in-the-balance-protection-eastern-drc-270114-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">In the Balance, searching for protection in eastern DRC</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Watch: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2013/oxfam-delivering-water-belungo-camp-democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow">Oxfam delivering water to Belungo camp, Democratic Republic of the Congo </a></strong></p> <p><strong>More about <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in the DRC</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Still living in fear in the Congo</h2></div> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:06:41 +0000 Jean Pierre Buledi 10621 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-03-05-still-living-fear-congo#comments Voces de África: la Unión Africana cumple 50 años http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10332 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Me he pasado tres días en la capital de África, Addis Abea, sede de la Unión Africana. Durante este tiempo, ha habido una intensa actividad al margen de la cumbre de la UA, pero he encontrado algún momento para poder explicar el trabajo de Oxfam a varia gente. Los tres días concluyeron con una actividad a la cual asistí llamada “50 lugares, 50 voces”, organizada por el equipo de<strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/campaigns/conflict" rel="nofollow"> Derechos en situación de Crisis</a></strong> de Oxfam.</p> <p>Hace un año, Oxfam se embarcó en una campaña por toda África para abordar el tema del conflicto y cómo afecta a la población más vulnerable, entre ellos las mujeres y los niños y niñas. Se seleccionaron cinco países que viven conflictos en diferentes fases y con grandes necesidades humanitarias para crear un proyecto audiovisual. Los países seleccionados fueron la República Democrática del Congo (RDC), Malí, Sudán del Sur, Sudán y Somalia. El resultado, "50 Lugares, 50 voces" es un testimonio de primera mano de gente normal que se ha visto afectada por el conflicto.</p> <h3>La cara de la resiliencia</h3> <p>En el evento, me quedé muy impresionada por los mensajes que la gente tanto de zonas rurales como urbanas envió a los líderes africanos con motivo del <strong><a href="http://summits.au.int/en/21stsummit/50th" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">50 aniversario de la Unión Africana</a></strong> y su  antecesora, la Organización para la Unión Africana (OUA).  Hablaban de la necesidad urgente de llegar a la paz, de que haya un liderazgo responsable y del potencial que tiene África de prosperar. La gente pide comida, ropa, educación, refugio, mejoras sanitarias y un ambiente de paz donde puedan construir sus vidas y prosperar. A pesar de la dureza de sus vidas, las fotos  les mostraban como personas “resilientes” frente a un entorno tan hostil.  </p> <p>Francine Chikanine, una comerciante del mercado de Goma lanzó un mensaje simple pero realmente potente: “La guerra en el Congo no termina; quiero que nuestros líderes se tomen dos minutos, solo dos minutos para encontrar las causas de fondo de esta guerra.”  Llegar a la raíz del problema que ha originado la guerra es factible, pero hacer algo para abordar estas causas fundamentales puede ser una tarea realmente compleja. La complejidad no significa que no se pueda hacer, simplemente se requiere un esfuerzo mayor. Tenemos que presionar para  que se encuentren soluciones, pero ¿por qué debería importarnos? </p> <h3>¿Por qué impulsar soluciones a los conflictos?</h3> <p>Nos debería importar porque las guerras han acabado con las vidas de millones de personas. En Somalia, por ejemplo, hay más de un milllón de personas desplazadas internas y otro millón que se ha refugiado en países vecinos. Sudán, Sudán del Sur y la RDC viven inmersos en conflictos armados de larga duración, donde cada día se denuncian casos de violencia de género. </p> <p>Nos debería importar porque cientos de miles de personas viven con miedo y no pueden alcanzar todo su potencial. Hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas han sido agredidos física y sexualmente, pero las mujeres y las niñas son los que se lleban la peor parte. Las mujeres viven con el temor constante de ataques sexuales cuando van a buscar <strong><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/6982323879/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">agua</a></strong>, están en el <strong><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/5329968337/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">campo</a></strong> o <strong><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/8405858192/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">traen leña</a></strong>. En noviembre de 2012, soldados rebeldes y del gobierno fueron <strong><a href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44854#.Uad3ztL0E2W" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">declarados culpables de violar a mujeres en la RDC</a></strong>. Ejércitos rebeldes reclutan a niños para convertirlos en soldados. Y los hombres se ven impotentes de  proteger y cuidar a sus familias.</p> <h3>El cambio es posible</h3> <p>Así que, aunque se han producido grandes avances en el continente, queda aún mucho por hacer. Una vida perdida en un conflicto es una vida de más. Estoy realmente orgullosa de que el proyecto “50 lugares, 50 voces”, y otras actividades organizadas por oficina de Oxfam de enlace con la Unión Africana, sirva para llevar las voces de la gente de los pueblos a los líderes africanos. Y mientras hablan de sus experiencias también demuestran esperanza en que el cambio es posible.</p> <p>Después de 50 años de existencia de la Unión Africana, y la emancipación política plena del continente, ha llegado el momento de que los líderes africanos acaben con la plaga de la guerra, para que la población africana pueda por fin vivir en paz, poner en pràctica sus derechos y desarrollar plenamente su potencial humano.</p> <p></p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><strong>El trabajo humanitario de Oxfam en <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/crisis-en-mal%C3%AD" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Malí</a>,  <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/conflicto-rdc" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">la República Democrática del Congo</a> y <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies/crisis-sudan-sudandelsur" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Sudán del Sur</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Voces de África: la Unión Africana cumple 50 años</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-06-04-voix-afrique-union-africaine-cinquante-ans" title="Voix d’Afrique : l&#039;Union africaine a cinquante ans" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_en last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-29-voices-africa-african-union-50" title=" Voices from Africa: the African Union at 50" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Fri, 31 May 2013 15:56:06 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10332 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10332#comments Voices from Africa: the African Union at 50 http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-29-voices-africa-african-union-50 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>I recently spent three days in Africa’s capital, Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union. During this time, there was a flurry of activity in the margins of the AU summit but I found my own space to talk to various people about Oxfam’s work. The three days were concluded by attending an activity called “<strong>50 Voices, 50 Places</strong>”, organized by Oxfam’s <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/conflict/" rel="nofollow">Rights in Crisis</a></strong> team.</p> <p>A year ago, Oxfam embarked on an Africa-wide campaign to address conflict and how it affects men women and children. Five focus countries – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia – all at various stages of conflict and each with huge humanitarian needs, were selected for a film and picture project. The result, <strong>50 Places, 50 Voices</strong> (embedded below) – is a first-hand testimony by ordinary people of how they have been affected by conflict.</p> <h3>The face of resilience</h3> <p>At the event, I was struck with the powerful messages people in rural villages and urban settings sent to African leaders to mark the <strong><a href="http://summits.au.int/en/21stsummit/50th" rel="nofollow">50th anniversary of the African Union</a></strong> and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The messages were on the urgent need for peace, responsive leadership and Africa’s potential to prosper. People want food, clothing, education, shelter, good health and a peaceful environment that allows them to thrive. Despite what life had thrown at them, the pictures were those of people who were resilient in the face of hostility.</p> <p>Francine Chikanine, a market trader in Goma had a simple but powerful message: “This war in Congo doesn’t end; I want our leaders to take two minutes, just two minutes, to find the root causes of war.” Getting to the root causes of war is doable, but doing something to address the root causes can be complex. Complexity does not mean it can’t be done, it simply means that more effort is required. We need to push for solutions to be found, but why should we care?</p> <h3>Why push for solutions to conflict?</h3> <p>We should care because the lives of millions of people have been destroyed by war. In Somalia for example, there are over one million internally displaced persons with another one million living in neighboring countries. There is on-going armed conflict in Sudan, South Sudan and <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo" rel="nofollow"><strong>DRC</strong></a>, while gender based violence continues to be reported.</p> <p>We should care because; hundreds of thousands of people live in fear and cannot achieve their full potential. Men, women and children have been physically or sexually assaulted, but women and children have suffered the most. Women live in constant fear of sexual attacks when they go to <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/6982323879/" rel="nofollow"><strong>fetch water</strong></a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/5329968337/" rel="nofollow"><strong>tend to the fields</strong></a>, or <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/8405858192/" rel="nofollow"><strong>bring firewood</strong></a>. In November, 2012, government and rebel soldiers were found <a href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44854#.UaYcAlFZhOI" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>guilty of raping women in DRC</strong></a>. Children have been conscripted in rebel armies. Men have been left feeling powerless to look after their families.</p> <h3>Change is possible</h3> <p>So even with great strides made on the continent, there still remains a lot more to be done. One life lost in conflict, is one life too many. I am proud that through 50 Places, 50 Voices, and other activities of our AU Liaison Office, Oxfam is bringing the voices of people at the grassroots to African leaders. As the people speak about their experiences, they also express hope that change is possible.</p> <p>After 50 years of existence of the African Union, and full political emancipation of the continent, time is ripe for African leaders to remove the blight of conflict, so that African people can live in peace, exercise their human rights and achieve their human potential.</p> <p></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/african-union-compendium" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's African Union Compendium</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/somalia" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in Somalia</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's humanitarian response to the conflict in the DRC</a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2> Voices from Africa: the African Union at 50</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-06-04-voix-afrique-union-africaine-cinquante-ans" title="Voix d’Afrique : l&#039;Union africaine a cinquante ans" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-05-30-voces-de-africa-la-union-africana-cumple-50-anos" title="Voces de África: la Unión Africana cumple 50 años" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 29 May 2013 15:20:24 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10340 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-29-voices-africa-african-union-50#comments What next for Congo after politics got in the way of peace? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-02-05-what-next-congo-after-politics-got-way-peace <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Political disputes have delayed a peace deal that could potentially affect millions of lives. As attention on the crisis in eastern DRC wanes, the humanitarian situation remains dire. We must ensure that this golden opportunity for peace is not lost for ever. </em></p> <p><strong>I spent most of the past week in Addis Ababa at the <a href="http://summits.au.int/en/20thsummit/" rel="nofollow">African Union Summit</a>. Leaders gathered from across the continent and the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" rel="nofollow">crisis in eastern DRC</a> was high on the agenda. It was a great opportunity to finally deal with one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest conflicts.</strong></p> <p>The current emergency affects hundreds of thousands of lives in North and South Kivu, but it is ultimately a 20-year-old regional crisis drawing in neighboring countries and affecting the whole of the Great Lakes. Any solution needs to see the AU taking the lead with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (<strong><a href="https://icglr.org/" rel="nofollow">ICGLR</a></strong> – a body made up of 11 African states) to resolve not just the immediate crisis but long-standing issues that underpin the conflict, such as poor governance, the need to reform the Congolese army, and tensions over land and resources.</p> <p><strong>For a while in Addis it looked like this was finally going to happen.</strong></p> <h3>An agreement to protect the population</h3> <p>At the summit Oxfam and the AU <strong><a href="http://www.au.int/en/content/african-union-and-oxfam-international-hold-photo-exhibition-issues-humanitarian-access-and-p" rel="nofollow">held an exhibition</a></strong> with <strong><a href="http://issuu.com/0xfam/docs/voices-from-congo-oxfam-jan2013" rel="nofollow">photos and testimonies</a></strong> capturing the human consequences of the conflict and the resilience of people caught up in the crisis. One of our partners from North Kivu spoke powerfully to a room full of ambassadors, dignitaries and journalists about the suffering and the urgent need for peace. A speech by the Commissioner of the AU Peace and Security Council echoed this.</p> <p><strong>In conversations in the room there was a sense of cautious enthusiasm.</strong> The AU had already planned a ceremony on Monday 28 January where an agreement would be signed by the leaders of DRC, Rwanda and Uganda – and other countries involved in peace talks and peacekeeping.</p> <p>From what we know, the agreement tackled the hard issues that could really make a long-term difference. It would ensure the DRC government provides services to its population and that its security forces better protect people from violence (at the moment they are more often responsible for abuses against civilians than protecting them). A “non-interference” clause stressed how neighboring countries should play a positive role in the crisis. It also looked at enhancing the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, with 2500 further African troops to target the ever increasing number of armed groups in eastern DRC.</p> <h3>The ceremony was canceled, the deal collapsed</h3> <p>On paper it looked an enormously significant result, and on Sunday night it all looked set to be signed, sealed and delivered the following morning. Early the next day the signing ceremony was canceled and the deal collapsed.</p> <p><strong>Once again politics got in the way of peace.</strong></p> <p>It seems there were two main sticking points that stopped the agreement being signed:</p> <ul><li>The UN did not adequately consult with southern African countries about certain details;</li> <li>And two countries – South Africa and Tanzania – disagreed about how the additional troops would be managed.</li> </ul><p>Both of these should be easily sorted but have delayed or even derailed an agreement that could positively affect millions of lives.</p> <p>At the exhibition we heard the story of women like Kakuru, who fled fighting in Sake last year and whose 12 year old son was killed in an explosion. She is now sheltering with 35,000 other people in <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2013/oxfams-humanitarian-response-mugunga-camp-democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow">Mugunga camp</a></strong> on the edge of Goma. For them, every day delayed is another night stuck in a camp, constantly afraid of attack and uncertain when they can go home. As politicians argue, families are uprooted by more fighting, women are raped, children recruited into militias, farmers robbed as they try to plant their crops, and men forced into labor by armed groups.</p> <h3>The momentum must not be lost</h3> <p>The leaders have now left Addis, but we must ensure that the momentum is not lost and that an agreement that was so close to being signed does not slip away.</p> <p>Of course, signing the agreement is not the end. The long road to peace in eastern Congo is littered with good agreements that were never implemented. But signing this agreement and ensuring that leaders do what they have promised would go a long way to enabling women like Kakuru to return home and start rebuilding their lives.</p> <p>If we miss this opportunity now then it is likely that the crisis in DRC will rumble on for years to come. This has to be the last peace agreement signed on the Great Lakes, and it has to be signed now.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://issuu.com/0xfam/docs/voices-from-congo-oxfam-jan2013" rel="nofollow">Voice of Congo</a></strong>: Testimonies of people who have fled the conflict</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo" rel="nofollow">Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</a></strong></p> <p>How does the AU work? The<strong> <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/african-union-compendium" rel="nofollow">African Union Compendium</a></strong> explains</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>What next for Congo after politics got in the way of peace?</h2></div> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 18:07:52 +0000 Joanna Trevor 10209 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-02-05-what-next-congo-after-politics-got-way-peace#comments Ruanda: agua potable para cientos de refugiados y refugiadas de la RDC http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10030 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Ruanda es conocida como el país de las mil colinas, pero al llegar a Kigeme no estaba preparada para lo que significaba un campo de refugiados que aloja a más de 14.000 personas. Decir que el campo es sorprendente es quedarme corta: miles de tiendas se encuentran ordenadas en filas enclavadas en dos colinas, una de las cuales es tan empinada, que sólo se pueden instalar tiendas en tres cuartas partes de sus laderas</p> Cientos de tiendas ordenadas en filas en dos colinas del campo Kigeme. Foto: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p>El campo es el hogar de la población refugiada congoleña que ha huido del <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/es/blogs/12-08-30-la-creciente-crisis-en-la-region-de-los-grandes-lagos-africana">recrudecimiento del conflicto en la República Democrática del Congo</a></strong> en la región de Kivu del Norte. Oxfam administra allí instalaciones de suministro de agua y saneamiento, lo que incluye sesiones de educación en higiene para ayudar a prevenir la propagación de enfermedades. En un espacio tan difícil, se trata de un reto logístico mayor.</p> <h3>Gran espíritu emprendedor </h3> <p>Caminar por el campo es una experiencia alentadora. A pesar de haber huido de un conflicto terrible, la vida continúa. Hay muchos niños jugando con pelotas caseras construidas a partir de bolsas de plástico, mientras que otros empujan coches de juguete hechos con tapas de botellas, o participan en  juegos en los que se lanzan piedras hacia distintas dianas. El espíritu emprendedor es alto: hay puestos improvisados que venden carbón vegetal y otros artículos esenciales. Y en quizá mi lugar favorito, existe hasta una 'casa de huéspedes' en la que se vende té.</p> <p>En un área tan densamente poblad<strong>a, el riesgo de que se produzcan enfermedades es elevado</strong>. Sin embargo, desde la apertura del campo aún no se ha registrado ningún brote de enfermedad.</p> <p>"El campamento Kigeme se ha mantenido muy limpio desde el principio", explicó Florencia Uwineza, responsable del equipo de Promoción de Salud Pública de Oxfam, al preguntarle sobre la gestión de las instalaciones. "Nuestro equipo se encontraba en el campo cuando se empezó a transferir a las primeras personas desde el campamento temporal próximo a la frontera. Les dimos la bienvenida a la entrada y les proporcionamos instrucciones clave sobre higiene para que constataran la importancia de mantener la limpieza en los baños y de lavarse las manos desde el primer momento".</p> <h3>Manteniendo el campo limpio</h3> El club de la higiene: estos juegos  ayudan a que los menores aprendan a lavarse las manos. Foto: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p>Este trabajo se ha complementado con la capacitación de 40 líderes comunitarios de diferentes áreas del campamento sobre salud pública. También ellos ayudan a llevar a cabo una serie de clubes de higiene dirigidos a hombres, mujeres, jóvenes, niños y niñas, los que a través de juegos y actuaciones transmiten mensajes importantes.</p> <p><strong>Nuestro equipo también ha establecido una serie de puntos de agua</strong>, suministrados a su vez por grandes tanques de agua ubicados en la parte superior de cada colina. El agua se canaliza al campamento desde las tuberías de la ciudad de Nyamagabe, ubicada a cinco kilómetros, hasta un tanque central de Oxfam. Desde aquí, una bomba de gasoil bombea agua hasta la cima de cada colina desde donde se distribuye a los puntos de agua, distribuidos por el terreno escarpado para que nadie tenga que llevar el agua demasiado lejos en estas encumbradas colinas. En cada punto de agua se indican las horas de apertura y mensajes de higiene específicos sobre cómo mantener los recipientes limpios.</p> <h3>Improbabilidad de volver en un futuro próximo</h3> Jeanette atendiendo un punto de agua de Oxfam. Foto: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p>Encontramos a Jeanette al visitar un punto de agua en uno de los lados más empinadas de los cerros de Kigeme. Entrenada por Oxfam en materia de higiene, Jeanette actúa como una "asistente de punto de agua", gestionando la entrega de agua en los horarios establecidos. "Creo que la parte más importante de mi trabajo es asegurarme de que la gente no juegue alrededor del punto de agua y mantener el área limpia. Antes, la gente solía venir con bidones sucios, pero ahora me aseguro de que los limpien antes de usarlos. Creo que es el mayor logro de mi trabajo.”</p> <p>Esta es una pequeña tarea en comparación con <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/emergencies" rel="nofollow">algunas de las emergencias más grandes donde Oxfam trabaja</a></strong>, pero también se trata de un país que no está acostumbrado a recibir programas humanitarios. Mientras el conflicto y la inestabilidad continúen en la RDC, es muy improbable que estos refugiados vuelvan a sus casas en un futuro próximo. Al tiempo que nuestro equipo se prepara para traspasar su labor a un socio local con el fin de mantener los sistemas que hemos instalado, nos sentimos orgullosos del trabajo realizado.</p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/conflicto-rdc" rel="nofollow">Conflicto en la República Democrática del Congo</a></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/development/ruanda" rel="nofollow">El trabajo de Oxfam en Ruanda</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/rdc" rel="nofollow">El trabajo de Oxfam en la República Democrática del Congo</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Ruanda: agua potable para cientos de refugiados y refugiadas de la RDC</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-10-17-rwanda-safe-water-thousands-congolese-refugees" title="Rwanda: Safe water for thousands of Congolese refugees" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-11-07-rwanda-eau-potable-refugies-congolais-RDC" title="Rwanda : de l’eau potable pour des milliers de réfugiés congolais" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:21:12 +0000 Laura Eldon 10030 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10030#comments Rwanda: Safe water for thousands of Congolese refugees http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-10-17-rwanda-safe-water-thousands-congolese-refugees <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Rwanda is famous as the country of a thousand hills, but arriving in Kigeme I wasn’t quite prepared for what that meant for a refugee camp hosting more than 14,000 people. To say the camp is striking is no understatement – thousands of shelters lie in neat rows on ridges dug into two hills, one of which is so steep it can only house shelters on three quarters of its slopes.</strong></p> Thousands of shelters, in neat rows on ridges dug into two hills: Kigeme camp. Photo: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p>Home to Congolese refugees who have fled an <strong><a href="/en/blogs/12-08-27-growing-crisis-great-lakes" rel="nofollow">upsurge in fighting in DRC’s troubled North Kivu region</a></strong>, Oxfam has been managing water and sanitation facilities across the camp, including running hygiene sessions to help prevent the spread of disease. In such a challenging terrain, this is no mean logistical feat.</p> <h3>Entrepreneurial spirit is high</h3> <p>Walking around the camp is a heartening experience. Despite having fled terrible conflict, life goes on. Numerous children line the pathways playing with homemade footballs constructed from plastic bags, while others pull toy cars made out of bottle caps, or take part in elaborate games involving flicking stones at different targets. Entrepreneurial spirit is high – makeshift stalls have sprung up selling charcoal and other essentials. And in perhaps my favorite spot, there’s even a ‘guest house’ selling tea.</p> <p><strong>In such a densely populated area,</strong> the risk of disease can be high. Yet, there have been no recorded outbreaks of illness since the camp opened.</p> <p>“Kigeme camp has been very clean from the beginning,” Florence Uwineza, Oxfam’s Public Health Promotion Team Leader, explained when I asked how facilities were being managed. “Our team was at the camp when the first people began being transferred from the transit camp near the border. We greeted them at the entrance and handed out key messages about hygiene so they knew about the importance of keeping toilets clean and washing hands from the start.”</p> <h3>Keeping the camp clean</h3> Hygiene club: These games help kids learn about hand washing. Photo: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p>This work has since been supplemented through training 40 Community Leaders to teach different areas of the camp about public health. They also help run a number of hygiene clubs for men, women, youth and children involving games and putting on plays to get important messages across.</p> <p><strong>Our staff also set up a series of water points</strong> serviced by large water tanks sitting at the top of each hill. Water is piped to the camp from the city pipeline in <strong><a href="http://www.nyamagabe.gov.rw/" rel="nofollow">Nyamagabe</a></strong>, five kilometers away to a large tank in the Oxfam compound using gravity. From here a diesel pump pumps water up to the top of one hill at a time from where it is distributed down to a number of tap stands, staggered across the steep terrain so that no one has to carry water too far up the hilly pathways. Signs at each water point indicate specific opening hours and display hygiene messages about keeping containers clean.</p> <h3>Unlikely to return soon</h3> Jeanette, an attendant at an Oxfam tap stand. Photo: Laura Eldon/Oxfam <p><strong>We met Jeanette</strong> visiting a water point on one of the steeper sides of the hills at Kigeme. Trained by Oxfam in safe hygiene matters, Jeanette now acts as a ‘tap stand attendant’, manning the water point at fixed times when the supply has been turned on. “I think the most important part of my job is making sure that people don’t play around at the water point and also keeping the area clean. Before people used to come here with dirty jerrycans, but now I make sure they clean them before they collect water – I think that’s the biggest achievement of my job.”</p> <p><strong>It’s a small operation here</strong> compared to some of the larger <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies" rel="nofollow">emergencies Oxfam responds to</a></strong>, but it’s also a unique one in a country not used to dealing with humanitarian programs. While fighting and instability continues in DRC it’s unlikely that these refugees will be returning home anytime soon. As our team prepares to hand over its work to a local partner to maintain the systems they’ve set up, they’re justly proud of the work they’ve done.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo/helping-idps-near-goma-photos" rel="nofollow">Photos: Helping internally displaced people, near Goma, eastern DRC</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/congo" rel="nofollow">Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</a></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/rwanda" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's work in Rwanda</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Rwanda: Safe water for thousands of Congolese refugees</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/12-10-31-ruanda-agua-potable-para-cientos-de-refugiados-y-refugiadas-de-la-rdc" title="Ruanda: agua potable para cientos de refugiados y refugiadas de la RDC" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/12-11-07-rwanda-eau-potable-refugies-congolais-RDC" title="Rwanda : de l’eau potable pour des milliers de réfugiés congolais" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 18 Oct 2012 10:02:09 +0000 Laura Eldon 9998 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-10-17-rwanda-safe-water-thousands-congolese-refugees#comments Búsqueda del agua: responsabilidad de niño. La vida de la población congoleña refugiada en Uganda http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9973 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Como el conflicto en el este de la República Democrática del Congo se ha agravado en los últimos meses, las personas continúan huyendo hacia la frontera con Uganda. Oxfam está suministrando agua potable y saneamiento en el campo de Rwamwanja, ahora hogar de más de 25.000 personas.</em></p>  Niños de Rwamwanja recogiendo agua. Foto: Janna Hamilton/Oxfam <p>Bajo el calor del sol de mediodía, Inocencio, 5 años de edad, se tambalea mientras camina por la carretera bajo el peso de un bidón lleno.</p> <p>Él y su grupo de jóvenes amigos habían salido a las 7 de la mañana a buscar agua. Cinco horas más tarde, el grupo vuelve con un poco de agua a sus tiendas. El agua será utilizada por sus familias para cocinar, bañarse y lavar durante ese día.</p> <p>Francise, de seis años, dice que no le importa caminar cuatro kilómetros ni llevar el pesado bidón: "Si recogo agua, significa que mi madre podrá cocinarme, así que no importa, pero me gustaría que el grifo estuviera aquí ", agrega señalando el suelo cerca de su tienda.</p> <p>El campo de Rwamwanja, ahora hogar de más de 25.000 refugiados y refugiadas congoleñas, se extiende sobre más de 80 kilómetros cuadrados en terreno montañoso, y muchas familias se asentaron lejos de las fuentes de agua existentes. Inocencio y sus amigos no han tenido más remedio que recoger de la bomba de agua que pertenece a la comunidad de acogida en Rwamwanja.</p> <h3>Crecen las tensiones por el acceso al agua</h3> <p>El ingeniero de agua y saneamiento de Oxfam, Evarest Ochola, dice que la tensión está creciendo al mismo tiempo que más personas están viendo limitado su acceso a agua limpia y segura. </p> <p><strong>Nyirahabimana, 47 años, cuenta que le disparon mientras </strong>recogía agua en la bomba cercana al campo y que tuvo que esperar que la gente de la comunidad de acogida llenará primero sus bidones.</p> <p>A pesar de lo anterior, Nyirahabimana dice que su principal preocupación es la higiene. Y apunta a un hoyo ubicado a unos pocos metros de la tienda que comparte con su marido y su hijo de 11 años. </p> <p>“Nuestra letrina es insegura. Yo sé que es insalubre, pero no tenemos nada más.”</p> <h3>El trabajo de Oxfam </h3> <ul><li><strong>Oxfam está perforando nuevos pozos y construyendo nuevas bombas </strong>de agua en el campo. Pronto el acesso al agua potable estará a poca distancia de las familias refugiadas. </li> <li><strong>Mientras tanto, se han distribuido 90.000 tabletas para purificar el agua y barras de jabón. </strong>para asegurar el contro de epidemis. Se controla constantemente que el agua sea segura para beber. </li> <li><strong>Oxfam también está formando a integrantes de la comunidad refugiada</strong> en promoción de la salud y la mantención de los puntos de agua, también está entregando posibilidad de trabajo a las personas refugiadas que participan en la construcción de letrinas. </li> </ul><p>Con el acceso al agua más cercano, las mujeres y los niños y niñas dedicarán menos tiempo a la recogida de agua. Con el aumento de los pozos y puntos de agua cerca del campo, se evitarán los conflictos con la comunidad de acogida. Y cuando las personas refugiadas puedan volver a casa, éstos quedarán para la población local. </p> <h3>Más información</h3> <p><strong>Fotos: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/desarrollo/republica-democratica-congo/trabajo-oxfam-imagenes-rdc" rel="nofollow">El trabajo de Oxfam en la RDC</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/conflicto-rdc" rel="nofollow">El conflicto en la República Democrática del Congo</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Búsqueda del agua: responsabilidad de niño. La vida de la población congoleña refugiada en Uganda</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-17-collecting-water-childs-burden-drc-refugees-uganda" title="Collecting water – a child’s burden: DRC refugees in Uganda" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 13:34:32 +0000 Janna Hamilton 9973 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/9973#comments Collecting water – a child’s burden: DRC refugees in Uganda http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-17-collecting-water-childs-burden-drc-refugees-uganda <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>As conflict in eastern DRC has worsened in the past few months, people continue to flee across the border to Uganda. Oxfam is delivering clean water and sanitation in the <strong><a href="/en/blogs/12-09-03-drc-refugees-seek-safety-uganda" rel="nofollow">Rwamwanja</a></strong> camp, now home to upwards of 25,000 refugees. </em></p> Children in Rwamwanja collect water. Photo: Janna Hamilton/Oxfam <p><strong>In the heat of the midday sun, 5-year-old Innocent wobbled along the road under the weight of his full jerry can.</strong></p> <p>He and his group of young friends had set out to collect water at 7am that morning. Five hours later, the little water gang was returning back to their tents with the precious water their families will use for all their cooking, bathing, washing and cleaning that day.</p> <p><strong>Francise, six, said she doesn’t mind</strong> walking the four kilometer journey, nor carrying the heavy jerry can home: “If I collect water, it means my mother will be able to cook me food, so I don’t mind, but I wish the water tap was here,” pointing to the ground near her tent.</p> <p>Rwamwanja settlement camp, now home to more than 25,000 Congolese refugees, is spread over 80 square kilometers of hilly terrain, and many refugee families are being settled far from existing water sources. Innocent and his friends have had no alternative but to collect water from the water pump that belongs to the host community in Rwamwanja.</p> <h3>Tensions about access to water have been growing</h3> <p>Oxfam’s water and sanitation engineer, Evarest Ochola, said tensions have been growing as more and more people are having to share the limited access to clean, safe drinking water.</p> <p><strong>Nyirahabimana, 47, said she has been shouted at</strong> when collecting water from the same water pump, and told to wait until all the members of the host community have filled up their jerry cans.</p> <p>Despite this, Nyirahabimana said her biggest concern is sanitation. She points to a hole in the ground just a few meters from the tent she shares with her husband and 11-year-old son.</p> <p>“Our latrine is unsafe – I know it’s unsanitary, but we don’t have anything else yet.”</p> <h3>What Oxfam is doing</h3> <ul><li><strong>Oxfam is drilling new boreholes</strong> and constructing water pumps within the settlement camp, so fresh, safe water will soon be flowing just a short distance away from where refugee families have settled.</li> <li><strong>In the meantime, 90,000 water purification tablets and bars of soap</strong> are being distributed – to help keep water-borne diseases at bay. Water will be constantly tested to make sure it is safe for drinking.</li> <li><strong>Oxfam is also training members of the refugee community</strong> in health promotion and maintenance of the water points, as well as providing job opportunities for refugees to help build much-needed latrines.</li> </ul><p>Bringing the water closer to the refugee community cuts off the time women and children spend walking to collect water. And increasing the number of boreholes on the edge of the camp will act to resolve any conflict over shared water resources – when it is safe for the refugees to return home, the host community will still be able to use the new water sources.</p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="12-09-03-drc-refugees-seek-safety-uganda" rel="nofollow">“I miss my husband” – DRC refugees seek safety in Uganda</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Photos: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/development/drcongo/oxfams-work-eastern-democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in eastern DRC</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Oxfam briefing: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/oxfam-lobby-briefing-drc-july2012-for-me-but-without-me.pdf" rel="nofollow">"For me, but without me, is against me": Why efforts to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo are not working</a> </strong>(pdf 957kb, 4 July 2012)</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" rel="nofollow">Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Collecting water – a child’s burden: DRC refugees in Uganda</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/busqueda-del-agua-responsabilidad-de-nino-la-vida-de-la-poblacion-congolena-refugiada" title="Búsqueda del agua: responsabilidad de niño. La vida de la población congoleña refugiada en Uganda" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Mon, 17 Sep 2012 14:59:00 +0000 Janna Hamilton 9954 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-17-collecting-water-childs-burden-drc-refugees-uganda#comments “I miss my husband” – DRC refugees seek safety in Uganda http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-03-drc-refugees-seek-safety-uganda <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>As vast swathes of eastern DRC descend further into chaos with little government or security presence, people <strong><a href="/en/blogs/12-08-22-fatous-story-searching-safety-drc" rel="nofollow">continue to flee</a></strong> to escape killing, rape, looting and extortion committed by rebel militia. In Uganda, more than 1,000 people are arriving each week to the Rwamwanja refugee settlement, now home to more than 20,000 refugees, with a further 10,000 people waiting in the Nyakabanda transit camp on the DRC border.</em></p> <p><strong>At the Rwamwanja reception area, hundreds of people await registration and queue to receive their first ration of cornmeal, cow peas and cooking oil.</strong></p> <p>I meet Françoise*, 32, who had arrived the night before from Nyakabanda with her husband and five children. She tells me they left their village of Kiwanja in North Kivu ten days earlier because they could no longer endure living in constant fear of the gunfire. Without hesitation she unwraps her 2-year-old daughter from her back and lifts up her shirt to reveal two lumpy, darkened scars where a bullet entered the left side of her ribs a few months earlier.</p> <p><strong>The spray of bullets </strong>that Françoise ran through in April marked the beginning of the latest flare up in the long-running <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" rel="nofollow">conflict in eastern DRC</a></strong> between rebel militia groups and government forces that has pushed people into <strong><a href="/en/blogs/12-08-27-growing-crisis-great-lakes" rel="nofollow">new depths of suffering</a></strong>.</p> <p>Françoise says rebels poured into her village firing their guns and looting:</p> <p><strong>“I began to run when I saw the rebels</strong> terrorizing people and looting shops, but as I ran across the street, a bullet went into my chest and I fell straight to the road. A stranger on a motorbike picked me up off the road and delivered me to hospital.”</p> <p>She spent three months in hospital recovering from the surgery to remove the bullet. Then, after returning home to her family, Françoise and her husband decided to abandon their home and seek refuge in Uganda.</p> <p>“I was living in constant fear of the gunfire. My heart just kept racing and I was so nervous all the time, we had to leave.</p> <h3>The challenge of a new life as a refugee</h3> <p>Françoise and a group of ten companions from Kiwanja sit in the grass sharing out scoops of cornmeal and cow peas and cups of cooking oil.</p> <p><strong>Among them is Colletta, 25.</strong> Her three young daughters refuse to leave her side. Colletta was at home with her husband and children just two weeks earlier when their house came under attack by M23 rebels. Her husband of seven years was killed instantly.</p> <p><strong>“My neighbours came running</strong> to rescue me and my daughters and we all fled and didn’t stop until we reached Bunagana, near the Ugandan border.”</p> <p>Colletta and many thousands more like her face the challenge of a new life as a refugee in a new country, with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing when they escaped.</p> <p>“All I think about is my husband, we were married for seven years, I just really miss him.”</p> <p><em>As well as hundreds of thousands of people displaced inside DRC, over 54,000 refugees have fled to Uganda and Rwanda. In the Rwamwanja refugee settlement, Oxfam is setting up water and sanitation facilities, hygiene promotion and cash-for-work opportunities.</em></p> <p><em>*Names have been changed to protect identities.</em></p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/12-03-26-drc-trying-build-security-where-fear-prevails">DRC: Trying to build security where fear prevails</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Photos: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/development/drcongo/oxfams-work-eastern-democratic-republic-congo" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in eastern DRC</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Oxfam briefing: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/oxfam-lobby-briefing-drc-july2012-for-me-but-without-me.pdf" rel="nofollow">"For me, but without me, is against me": Why efforts to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo are not working</a> </strong>(pdf 957kb, 4 July 2012)</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/drc-conflict" rel="nofollow">Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>“I miss my husband” – DRC refugees seek safety in Uganda</h2></div> Mon, 03 Sep 2012 14:24:00 +0000 Janna Hamilton 9974 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/12-09-03-drc-refugees-seek-safety-uganda#comments