Fifty years, fifty countries: Democratic Republic of Congo

ConflictViolence against WomenWorkshops50 CountriesD.R. Congo

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Tearfund has been working in the DRC since 1986. Located in central Africa, this country has suffered decades of civil war, with 13 million people currently in need of humanitarian aid.

At Tearfund, we know that broken relationships are the root cause of poverty. In few places is this more evident than in the DRC, where a devastating cycle of conflict has forced more than 4.5 million people from their homes. Deep rifts have formed between different ethnic groups and communities, and violence has become deeply ingrained in society. For this reason, addressing violence is one of our top priorities in the DRC.

A new solution to an old problem
Women are most vulnerable to violence here; both in conflict, with rape used as a weapon of war, and in the home. Much of our work is to help women recover from violence, grow in confidence and build safe lives for themselves and their children. However, over the years, we’ve learnt the power of going deeper to tackle violence at its root, by addressing harmful gender norms and working with the men too. And out of that learning has come a new approach: Transforming Masculinities.

Bura’s family is one of many in the DRC and around the world to benefit from this work. Like so many men in the DRC, Bura grew up with violence all around him, and was taught that men should not show their emotions or talk about their feelings. This suppression and resulting frustration often emerges through violence, usually towards women, and conflict.

Bura was challenged and changed through Tearfund’s Transforming Masculinities workshops, where his group studied the Bible, discussed, reflected and learnt together. He now sees his wife as an equal partner, to be cared for and treated with respect. And together, they are an example and a source of advice to others. Bura has been appointed a Gender Champion by our local partner.

‘Before, the situation was not good, even in my own home,’ says Bura. ‘When I attended the training it changed our behaviour…. Physical violence decreased in the community and it has become rare. If there is a risk of conflict, people avoid resorting to violence to solve their problem.’

It doesn’t stop there
Tackling violence isn’t the only focus for our staff and partners in the DRC, and we are seeing transformation across a range of issues. Our programmes also cover water and sanitation, creating livelihoods and equipping churches to be agents of powerful change. Please cover this work, and the DRC, in prayer.

If you'd like to know more please visit the DRC country page.

Please pray

  • Violence continues to wreak devastation in some parts of the DRC, with the north-eastern province of Ituri particularly affected right now. Please pray for those suffering, for our staff and partners there, and for lasting peace in the DRC.
  • Give thanks for the lives touched through the work of our staff and partners in the DRC since 1986, and pray for those who still need to be reached.
  • The Transforming Masculinities approach to tackling violence is relatively new. Please pray that it will continue to have a powerful impact in the DRC, and further afield as it is introduced in Liberia, Nigeria, Myanmar, Iraq, Brazil and Central African Republic.
Cheryl Bannatyne

Cheryl is a copywriter for Tearfund where she gets to share the great stories of lives being transformed around the world.