Aids Rights Congo: Using ICT To Combat Violence Against Women

The Rising Voices grantee Aids Rights Congo, with the help of AZUR Development organization from Brazzaville, Congo trains communication officers of local AIDS organizations in digital story telling, podcasting, and the creation of blogs to document the stigma and discrimination of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Participants at the FTX workshop organized by AZUR Development

Participants at the FTX workshop organized by AZUR Development

During March 31 – April 03, 2010 AZUR Development concluded a training workshop as a part of the FTX (Feminist Tech Exchange) program supported by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC PARF). A number of girls and women from Brazzaville, Pointe Noire and Kinkala have participated in the training on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to combat violence against women and girls.

Sylvie Niombo writes in the Congolese Women On The Web blog:

During the three days, participants exchanged views on relevant issues such as judicial procedures to follow for women and girls victims of violence, the presence of Congolese women in the blogosphere and also the use of citizen media for women citizens’ rights activists.

The training modules were on video production. Women have learned to manipulate digital cameras, film, capturing the elements on the computer and video editing. They left to the field to interview women and men and produced a report on domestic violence.

It was a joy to read the blog posts written and published by the participants of the social networking workshop. They have learned to use, and also have registered on Facebook and discovered an effective way to communicate with their contacts. They have created galleries of photos with and appreciated tool that allows them to show the world the achievements of their organizations. (machine translation)

You can learn more about the workshop from this video [fr] uploaded by Gisele975:

Princely Indeou at the Congo Portal reports:

The workshop participants will discuss issues relating to women's rights in the Republic of Congo, the contribution of Congolese women in the blogosphere, documenting cases of violence. After the training, each participant will be able to seek grants to support the APC WNSP information technologies and fight against all sorts of violence against Congolese women and girls. (machine translation).

Blandine Louzolo and Sylvie Niombo informs in the Aids rights Congo project blog that in Togo 60% of women are living with HIV:

The situation of HIV positive widows and children orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in this country do not differ from those of other countries in West Africa. When widowed, they are dispossessed of their property, sometimes driven out of the marital home and can and blackmail on the disclosure of their HIV status.

Emma And Sylvie at FTX training by Azur Development

Emma And Sylvie at FTX training by Azur Development

Sylvie Niombo also wrote ( Translated by Sarah Hurwit) a report on how HIV-infected women in urban areas of Congo are affected by housing problems and how it affects their well-being and health as well as that of their families. She tells:

In Congo, women are most affected by HIV/AIDS: at least 4.1% of Congolese women are infected. Women living with HIV/AIDS face discrimination and stigmatization on a daily basis, despite the fact that they are entitled to the same health and other rights as all Congolese citizens. They are already lat a disadvantage in a country where the some of the provisions in family code are flawed and where society imposes moral and physical abuse on widows so that the situation of widows living with HIV is of concern. The purchasing power of women infected with HIV/AIDS is low, which does not differ from that of the average Congolese woman, and is further reduced because of their state of vulnerability.

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