details

Kibombo Women’s Collective (COFEKI), Maniema

COFEKI is a registered NGO with the provincial government.

Location

Kibombo, Maniema province
COFEKI works in Kibombo territory, Maniema province.

Sectors of Intervention

Prevention of sexual violence; human rights (especially women’s rights); education; small-business development

History

COFEKI (Coopérative des femmes de Kibombo) formed in 2004 to unify local women’s
associations. The cooperative initially had strong ties to the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) and Catholic church, but, concerned about being considered a group for Catholic women only, COFEKI consciously reached out to women’s associations regardless of their religious orientation. The common bond uniting the eight women’s associations currently part of COFEKI is a concern for the rights and socioeconomic status of women in Kibombo territory (one of Maniema province’s seven territories). In the culture of Maniema, men generally consider and treat women as inferiors, and use their labor as a means to acquire income. COFEKI works to organize, educate, and empower the women of Kibombo territory in order to increase their self-esteem and knowledge, and to improve the socioeconomic status of women and their families. COFEKI also specifically works to prevent gender-based violence and assist survivors of such violence. It uses a variety of means to educate the Kibombo population, including broadcasting educational programs and dramas on local radio, organizing community meetings and training workshops, and putting on plays with the assistance of the Kinshasa-based cultural group Centre Lokolé. COFEKI has also worked with the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Mission

Contribute to the integral development of the community through harmonious, gender-based equality

Objectives

  • Fight against sexual violence and prevent violence of any sort through community education and sensitization
  • Train women about their rights and responsibilities
  • Support women’s initiatives in the community
  • Teach women how to read and write
  • Initiate community development activities for the socioeconomic promotion of women

Populations Served

Women and young girls

Programs

  • Community sensitization: COFEKI carries out community education on aspects such as the fight against gender-based violence, human rights, and good governance. As part of this effort, COFEKI puts on plays, records them on video, and then distributes the videos through its member associations for their use in educational efforts.
  • Psychosocial support: COFEKI provides psychological support and counseling to the survivors of sexual violence.
  • Agro-pastoral support: COFEKI undertakes agricultural activities and facilitates its member associations’ access to various tools, improved seeds, and goats.
  • Microcredit: The organization gives small amounts of money to various women’s groups to support their activities. When COFEKI is reimbursed, the funds are given to another women’s group.

Governance

COFEKI’s supreme governing body is the general assembly, which meets annually and consists of representatives of the eight member associations. The general assembly decides the overall focus and programs for the coming year, and elects the board of directors, which meets quarterly and monitors COFEKI’s work. COFEKI has ten employees: four are permanent and six are temporary workers. The employees come from the member associations; therefore, there is not an open hiring process.
COFEKI has an account in the financial cooperative IMARA, which is in Kindu, but it maintains money locally with a priest at the Catholic parish. For financial, administrative, and personnel management, COFEKI has:
  • Purchasing policies and procedures: YES, but it needs improvement
  • 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

  • Member groups that are unified and focused on helping women and young girls
  • Motivated and well-trained staff
  • A motorbike, computer, solar panel, and other materials necessary for a functioning office

Needs

  • Upgraded office equipment, including sewing machines, computers, and printers
  • Organizational capacity building for COFEKI staff and member associations
  • Greater financial resources, and sustainable sources of funding

Funders and Budget

COFEKI’s annual budget is approximately $15,000. COFEKI currently has no external funders, but obtains its funding from contributions of the member associations and from revenue created through the sale of goats and crops from COFEKI’s garden plots.

Accomplishments

  • Community sensitization about HIV/AIDS using a mobile cinema
  • Community sensitization about the fight against all kinds of gender-based violence
  • Dissemination of the new law against gender violence through training and distribution of 1,000 pamphlets
  • Social reinsertion of 50 female survivors of sexual violence

Organizational Vision

COFEKI’s vision is to have a Kibombo community that promotes and protects the right of women. It would like to create a society that promotes the emergence of women leaders, giving women equal opportunities in the home and in the community.

Project Proposals

  • Psychosocial support to women survivors of sexual violence: COFEKI would like to expand on a previously funded project to provide counseling services to women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence. Cost: $12,500 (for one year)
  • Organizational capacity building: This project would provide leadership and organizing training for the women leaders of COFEKI’s eight member associations. Cost: $4,038 (for four months)
  • Microcredit for small-business development: COFEKI would like to have a larger fund for its microcredit activities. The money would be provided to women in the member associations for small businesses and other needs, and the fund replenished through repayments. Cost: $4,080

Contact

Wilhelmina Fatuma Upelele, president, or Chantal Zawadi, +243.815.673.398, +243.994.325.740, cofekimaniema@yahoo.fr

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