Sexual Violence Against Congolese Infants Is on the Rise

A version of this article previously appeared on the Panzi Foundation website. When I first began working to combat mass atrocities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), I was a recovering academic. I had left a PhD program at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies with an MA, all-but-dissertation, driven by […]

Victory for Girls (and Boys): Malawi Outlaws Child Marriage

The African nation of Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, has voted to outlaw the practice of child marriage. Legislators have approved—and President Peter Mutharika is expected to sign—a bill raising the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18. Currently, nearly 1 in 8 Malawi girls are wed by age 15, and half […]

Victory for Public Health in Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populous and one of the wealthiest nations in Africa. Yet reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) is a leading health challenge in the country. While various programs exist at the national and local levels, our RMNCH health statistics have not changed substantially over the last decade. Indeed, they remain devastating: […]

Dear UN: Where Are the Women in Your Ebola Prevention Plan?

The following is an open letter from the Mano River Women’s Peace Network member states to those who attended the UN Security Council’s special meeting on the Ebola crisis. It was originally published on the Social Justice blog and is reprinted here with permission. For only the third time in its history, the UN Security Council has convened an emergency meeting on […]

Rape as a Weapon of War: What Happens to Pregnant Survivors?

The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is formally over, but women and girls remain targets for violence. Still today, all warring parties in Congo routinely use sexual violence as a weapon of war and a tool of social control. The rebels know that women are the center of the community. They learned […]

Where Women Fill More Than 50 Percent of Government Seats

We always talk about the fact that in order to really change attitudes and behavior towards women and to correct gender inequity in Congo, there need to be women leaders. It seems like a pretty obvious statement, but as we know, this is far from an obvious truth in many countries around the world (including […]

Fighting Back Against Rape in War

“Sexual violence.” We hear these two words over and over in Congo. They have become a part of the vernacular—and in many ways are a symptom of a highly traumatized society. In every meeting, sexual violence is mentioned and everywhere we go, we meet girls, women and children who have survived rape and assault. And […]

Rape in Congo is a Men’s Issue, Too

Here in Congo, so many of our discussions have been about the brutal sexual violence affecting women. We have heard heartbreaking stories of horrific violence and trauma that give you a new appreciation for human cruelty. And we have met so many people who give you hope—who demonstrate unimaginable resilience despite unbelievable trauma. Just today, […]

Corporate Responsibility: It’s Time to Stand Up for the Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

This week in Abuja, Nigeria, corporations from the U.S. and around the globe will attend the World Economic Forum on Africa. Yes, Nigeria. Where 234 schoolgirls (possibly more, according to some reports) have been kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram and remain missing. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan recently blamed the girls’ parents for his government’s failure to quickly find […]

Have You “Seen” the Kidnapped Girls of Nigeria?

As many of us now know, more than 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from their dorms on April 15 in the northeastern part of Nigeria. The terrorist Islamist group, Boko Haram—possibly tied to Al Qaeda—has been linked to this brazen abduction, as well as to the mass murder of other school children (29 school boys in February). On […]