details

Department for Women and Family (DFF), Maniema

DFF is a registered NGO with the national and provincial governments.

Location

Kindu, Maniema province
The entire Maniema province

Sectors of Intervention

Food security; education and professional training; sexual violence; human rights; health

History

In 1988, after the division of Kivu province into three provinces (Maniema, North Kivu, and South Kivu), the Maniema branch of the Protestant church in DRC (Eglise de Crist au Congo, or ECC) created DFF (Département femme et famille) to coordinate its work on behalf of women and families. The aim was to create a strategy for women’s engagement in the church, as well as in society. This was significant, as the Protestant church in DRC had traditionally marginalized women in its management and activities. For decades, the church taught that women should be submissive to their husbands and all male figures. DFF is officially part of ECC, but acts independently and is headed by women. It has offices in each of Maniema’s seven territories and works closely with church groups as well as local community-based organizations.
Since its inception, DFF has focused on a range of social and economic activities to assist women, including a unique literacy program for adult women. One unintended effect of its work over the last 20-plus years is its creation of many strong female leaders. These women serve as role models for other women and are capable of organizing and implementing a range of programs. DFF is an active member of local NGO networks and has collaborated with many international partners, including UNFPA, WFP, UNICEF, GIZ (formerly GTZ), and ICCO.

Mission

DFF seeks to improve society by building the capacities of women to engage in activities that increase their living standards and enhance their social and economic power.

Objectives

  • Improve the living standards of rural women through agro-pastoral activities, small business development, and education
  • Train and educate women about human rights, and about civil rights and responsibilities
  • Engage in lobbying and advocacy to inform society about women’s challenges and socioeconomic conditions, as well as their importance as the backbone of the family and their strategic role in community development

Populations Served

DFF primarily works with women, but more broadly engages with the entire society in Maniema to promote the rights and status of women, as well as to advance the importance of family.

Programs

  • Vocational training: DFF trains women in sewing and baking to provide or improve skills that can enable them to achieve greater economic security and enhanced social status.
  • Adult literacy education: DFF operates a literacy program to teach women how to read and write. It offers classes at three levels of proficiency.
  • Sexual violence: In partnership with other organizations in the sexual violence sector, DFF assists survivors with social integration and ensures their participation in treatment programs.
  • Agricultural assistance: DFF provides training, seeds, and tools to women to increase the productivity of their garden plots.
  • Microcredit for small-business development: DFF provides small loans to women who want to start small businesses.

Governance

DFF is governed by a general assembly, which is part of ECC. The general assembly meets once each year in April and sets overall guidance for the organization. The general assembly selects a board of directors, which meets every six months and implements the directives of the general assembly. DFF also has a monitoring and control board, which meets every six weeks to monitor the group’s finances and activities. The Kindu office has 13 permanent staff.
DFF has a bank account with BIC in Goma and with the financial cooperative COOPEC IMARA in Kindu. For financial, administrative, and personnel management, DFF has:
  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: YES
  • 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

  • A strong presence in Maniema through its seven offices in each of the province’s territories
  • Social capital and prestige as a result of its connection with the Protestant church and its long history of activities to support women
  • A qualified staff, including strong women leaders at the community level

Needs

  • DFF has difficulty with communications among its various offices due to the poor state of transportation and communication infrastructures in Maniema province.
  • DFF needs training in administration and finance to improve the professionalism and capacities of its staff.
  • DFF lacks finances to meet the demands for its services.

Funders and Budget

DFF’s annual budget is approximately $100,000. Recent funders include ICCO, Kerk in Actie, GIZ (formerly GTZ), and UNFPA. It also earns money through renting out a conference room in its Kindu office ($50 per day) and selling baked goods and other foods at meetings in its building.

Accomplishments

  • Construction of its own office, including three rooms for program activities and a conference room
  • Rehabilitation of a primary school in Tuungane
  • Support for women’s socioeconomic improvement through provision of agricultural support and microcredit for small-business development
  • Numerous trainings on women’s rights
  • Support for the social integration of female survivors of sexual violence

Organizational Vision

Continue to increase the socioeconomic status of women and build the capacities of women and women’s groups both within and outside the Protestant church

Project Proposals

  • Supporting vulnerable girls through professional training: This project will extend DFF’s adult programs in sewing and baking to vulnerable girls—i.e., girls who are survivors of sexual violence, disabled, gave birth at a young age, etc. It will take place at eight sites in Maniema province and last for nine months. Cost: $55,000
  • Educating women about their rights: This project will train women in rural areas about their civil rights. It will coordinate trainings in each of Maniema’s seven territories with local women’s groups and other community-based groups. Cost: $45,000
  • Organizational capacity building: DFF would like to provide training in capacity building for the staff in all its offices. Specifically, DFF would like to organize training sessions on financial, staff, and project management. Cost: $50,000

Contact

Philomine Azama Asini, +243.998.910.871, dffkinduma@yahoo.fr

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