gffw_logofotc_logo_noborderCongoSwim funds are distributed as grants by Global Fund for Women (GFW) and Friends of the Congo (FOTC) to women and youth-led groups in Congo.  Areas of focus include:

  • Initiatives to end violence against women and children
  • Human rights education and advocacy
  • Development of local leaders and peacebuilders
  • Women-run businesses
  • Education, especially for girls
  • Services for people displaced and/or living with HIV/AIDS

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a video illustrating how GFW is helping to fund the Congolese movement against sexual violence.

Meet the CongoSwim 2013 beneficiaries

SOS Women and Children In Catastrophe (GFW grantee)

SOS Femme et Enfant En Catastrophe in eastern Congo provides survivors of sexual violence with medical and legal assistance, and helps them to take legal action against their perpetrators.  SOSFEC also conducts adult literacy classes and provides support to refugees. It has developed a solid advocacy program that pressures elected officials and traditional authorities on violations of women’s rights.  The specific 2013 grant made possible by CongoSwim was for a) workshops on UN Security Council Resolution 1325; b)  a public march to highlight the links between UNSCR 1325 and women’s reproductive rights; c) presentations of the recommendations to elected officials; d) a stronger creation of a network on reproductive rights with NGOs, media and elected officials.

The Congo Connect Youth Initiative (FOTC grantee)

kinshasa center

Compliments of CongoSwim funds, a technology, peacebuilding and leadership center in Kinshasa was able to be completed.  The Congo Connect Youth Initiative seeks to create 34 centers throughout the country to unite the youth for peaceful change. Some highlights from the center include:

  • Collaborative projects between the youth and the Carter Center, US Embassy, and Open Society Institute
  • Establishment of information distribution network from conflict and non-conflict affected areas of the country
  • Training of youth in computer technology, leadership and management development
  • Mobilizing of youth organizations in Kinshasa to form a coalition of youth engaged in civic education
  • Education on civic rights and responsibilities in preparation for the 2016 presidential elections

Costs to run the Kinshasa center include monthly rent ($500), monthly internet access ($100 ), 3 staff persons  ($225/month), generator rental ($50/quarter), and cell phone and blackberry SIM cards ($50/month).  The youth extend tremendous appreciation because 2013 CongoSwim funds made the initial deposit of $4,500 and 6 months of rent possible.

Programme Amkeni Wamama (GFW grantee)Foreign Policy April 2014 Article

Referenced in April 2014 in Foreign Policy Magazine, Programme Amkeni Wamama (PAMA) was founded in 1990 to combat poverty and lack of access to information among women in and around the city of Bunia, in Congo’s furthest northeast, on the border with Uganda. PAMA is a voice for gender equality and women’s leadership development in the region, while challenging the pandemic of gender violence and promoting maternal health. It also promotes women’s economic empowerment and encourages civic and political participation by conducting entrepreneurial training, conducting awareness sessions on women’s human rights including land rights and participation in local government, and running two literacy centers. The group focuses its activities on meeting the needs of war widows and survivors of sexual violence, out-of-school and orphaned girls, teenage mothers, and local women’s groups. The 2013 grant was to 1) host political participation workshops for 150 women; 2) organize workshops on gender equality for out of school young girls; 3) expand the literacy program; 4) cover administrative costs

Association of Widows (FOTC grantee)

A few of the members of the sewing collective within the The Association of Widows are pictured above.  Each woman has her story of tremendous loss and hope.  As a result of funds raised in 2013 by CongoSwim, 15 new sewing machines and material were able to be purchased.  The collective currently is working to export the fairly traded shirts they craft, primarily to the US, as a tool to raise consciousness of the challenges women face in Congo while creating economic opportunity for their families.

A few of the members of the sewing collective within the The Association of Widows are pictured above. Each woman has her story of tremendous loss and hope. As a result of funds raised in 2013 by CongoSwim, material and 15 new sewing machines were able to be purchased to replace old ones pictured above. The collective currently is working to export the fairly traded shirts they craft as a tool to raise consciousness of the challenges women face in Congo while creating economic opportunity for their families.

Congolese Women’s Fund (GFW grantee)

Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises was formed in 2007 in DRC. It started its activities in 2010 and gave its first grants in 2011. The fund meets needs by providing grants of $3,000-$5,000 to women’s organizations and strengthens the technical skills of these groups to enable them to bring about positive change in the status of women in DRC.  From 2011 to 2013, the fund has supported 79 projects in eight provinces. Grantees work in the following themes: Ending sexual and gender based violence; Women’s Empowerment; Women’s Participation in decision-making bodies; HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. The fund has provided capacity building for more than 53 grantees and non-grantees on project management, financial management and resource mobilization.