details

Association Mwanga , Maniema

Mwanga is a registered NGO with the provincial government.

Location

Kindu, Maniema province
Mwanga works throughout Maniema province, but with greater focus on the territories of Pangi, Kindu, Kibombo, Kabambare, and Kasongo.

Sectors of Intervention

Human rights and civic education; the environment and natural resources; gender and justice; development and food security

History

In 1999, a group of women in Kindu formed Association Mwanga (“light,” or “enlightenment”) to address the status and life conditions of women in Maniema. These women sought to raise community awareness about women’s rights and to transform the culture in Maniema, in which women traditionally have few rights and are effectively second-class citizens. Mwanga also recognized the serious problem of sexual violence in Maniema and started a program to provide free legal assistance and representation for female survivors. In recent years, Mwanga has also worked in the environment sector to resolve a conflict between pygmy populations and the government in Maiko National Park, as well as on forest protection. Mwanga has worked with many national and international partners, including the National Endowment for Democracy, UNFPA, Global Rights, Lawyers Without Borders, FAO, the provincial government, and local human rights NGOs in Maniema.

Mission

Sensitize the local community to stand against all forms of violence against women, so that women can enjoy their rights just like any other citizen

Objectives

  • Promote and defend the rights of women and children
  • Protect and manage the environment and help local communities to know their rights
  • and responsibilities with respect to the use of forest resources
  • Demobilize child soldiers and help their reintegration into community life
  • Identify and assist women who are survivors of sexual violence so they can obtain justice
  • Promote the agricultural sector, particularly for women farmers

Populations Served

Mwanga primarily works with women and children, but indirectly engages and serves the entire population of Maniema province.

Programs

  • Civic education: Mwanga conducts trainings to raise community awareness and sensitization on the importance of civil marriage and women’s right of inheritance.
  • Peace and reconciliation: Mwanga works to reconcile communities in conflict, particularly in trying to resolve conflict between pygmy populations in Maiko National Park and government officials from ICCN and other agencies.
  • Gender and justice: Mwanga provides legal assistance to women survivors of gender based violence.

Governance

The supreme governing body is the general assembly, which meets once a year,provides general guidance for the organization, and elects the board of directors. The board meetsevery three months and oversees Mwanga’s operations, including participating in the hiring of staff.  A monitoring committee meets monthly to oversee Mwanga’s finances and projects. Mwanga has sixpermanent staff, including two lawyers.
The organization has a bank account at BIC in Goma. For financial, administrative, and personnelmanagement, Mwanga has:
  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: NO
  • A computerized accounting system: NO
  • A clearly defined accounting process: YES
  • Clear procedures for management of payroll, petty cash, procurement, and disbursements: YES
  • Staff with the technical expertise to undertake projects: YES

Strengths

  • Qualified staff that works well as a team
  • Two lawyers on staff who provide legal help to female survivors of sexual violence
  • Well known and well respected in Maniema

Needs

  • A comprehensive procedures manual to formalize its internal management and financial policies
  • A well-developed strategic plan to guide its activities
  • Computer equipment for its office, including accounting software

Funders and Budget

Mwanga’s budget is approximately $55,000 each year. Funders include the National Endowment for Democracy and Oxfam Novib.

Accomplishments

  • Provided legal and psychosocial assistance to 550 female survivors of sexual violence
  • Raised community awareness in Punia and Kailo about the management of forest resources; in addition, educated local communities about the importance of paying taxes and also holding local officials accountable for spending the tax money to provide better public services
  • Succeeded in helping the pygmy population to move out of Maiko National Park after a protracted negotiation process

Organizational Vision

Create a society in Maniema that respects and protects the rights of women

Project Proposals

  • Forest protection: Mwanga seeks funds to organize communities and provide training to create better local management of forest resources in Pangi, Kasongo, and Kibombo territories. Cost: $32,000
  • Organizational capacity building: Mwanga seeks funds to acquire computers and software, create a procedures manual and strategic plan, and provide trainings for its staff on administrative, financial, and project management. Cost: $25,000
  • Stopping traditional weddings: Mwanga proposes launching a campaign to raise awareness of the problems with traditional weddings, in which women cannot inherit land or their husband’s property, and in which women are subjected to degrading treatment upon the death of their husband. The goal is to help women achieve greater social and economic power, in the household and in the community. This project will take place in Kasongo and Kabambare territories. Cost: $55,000

Contact

Theophile Barwani, as_mwanga@yahoo.fr

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