details

Solidarity of Women and Small Farmers Organizations (SOFEJEP), North Kivu

SOFEJEP is a registered NGO with the provincial government.

Location

Butembo, North Kivu province
Beni and Lubero territories

Sectors of Intervention

Food security; conservation; gender-based violence

History

SOFEJEP (Solidarité des organisations des femmes et jeunes producteurs agricoles) was created in 2005 by a group of women and small-scale farmers. At this time there was insecurity and conflict in the Butembo area, which affected the abilities of small-scale farmers to transport their produce from rural areas to central markets. In addition, most farmers lacked the capacity to process their agricultural products, thus their profitability remained stagnant. SOFEJEP formed to specifically help female farmers to access markets and come up with a common strategy to improve their situation. Currently SOFEJEP has 18 community groups in the Butembo area, with 3,376 active members. SOFEJEP derives its funding from its own activities and contributions from member groups, but it has received material assistance from IFDC Catalist, and Forum for the Nile Basin.

Mission

Influence and facilitate farmers’ access to markets and improve the politics of the agricultural sector in order to increase agricultural productivity and revenue

Objectives

  • Build the managerial and technical capacity of women’s groups and small-scale farmers in order to improve their operational capabilities
  • Contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS and sexual violence
  • Engage in mainstreaming gender into development activities
  • Search for open markets for farmers’ products
  • Facilitate farmers’ access to microcredit

Populations Served

SOFEJEP works with men and women in the community.

Programs

 

  • Food security: SOFEJEP sensitizes and provides technical support to small-scale farmers and women’s groups. In addition, SOFEJEP facilitates exchange visits among the farmers’ groups. It also builds storehouses for farmers’ products.
  • Sexual violence: SOFEJEP trains and sensitizes farmers to have a responsible sexual life, as well as sensitizing women to denounce cases of sexual violence in the community. SOFEJEP trains local counselors who ensure the identification, referral, and counseling of survivors of sexual violence.
  • Environmental protection: SOFEJEP sensitizes the communities living around Virunga National Park to refrain from timber harvesting. It also sensitizes communities to fight against erosion in Lubero territory.
  • Public health: SOFEJEP sensitizes local communities about HIV/AIDS and hygiene.

 

 

Governance

The supreme governing body is the general assembly, which is made up of 36 members. The general assembly meets annually and appoints the board of directors and the monitoring commission. The board meets every three months to analyze the organization’s operations. The organization has 11 qualified staff members and four volunteers.
SOFEJEP has a bank account at a local cooperative in Butembo known as CODEFI. For financial, administrative, and personnel management, SOFEJEP has:
  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: YES
  • A computerized accounting system: YES
  • 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

  • An office and equipment to facilitate the organization’s work
  • Its own income-generating activity (public secretarial office)
  • All members of SOFEJEP have their own individual storehouses to keep their agricultural products while they wait to sell.
  • A committed, professional staff
  • A strong working relationship with other partners that facilitate the organization’s work
  • A strong track record of successful program implementation

Needs

  • Capacity building for its staff (IT, project cycle management)
  • Construction of more storehouses for its members
  • Means to transport agricultural products from the fields to the market
  • Support and means for the conservation of agricultural areas
  • Machines to process foods so farmers can get greater returns on their agricultural products
  • New office equipment (e.g., computers, printers)

Funders and Budget

In 2010, SOFEJEP’s budget was $7,800. Its funding comes from its own activities and contributions from its member groups.

Accomplishments

  • Processed 30 tons of rice and 16 tons of maize at Kipese in 2010
  • Owns 50 acres of land
  • Has trained 25 counselors in Lubero and 13 in Beni
  • Referred 124 survivors of sexual violence to the hospital (Clinique dieu vivant) in Butembo
  • Has contributed to the socioeconomic integration of 40 survivors of sexual violence through provision of microcredit

Organizational Vision

A society that is gender balanced and facilitates the socioeconomic power of farmers

Project Proposals

  • Preventing sexual violence: This program will contribute to the prevention of sexual violence through the promotion of women in positions of community leadership in Beni and Lubero territories. SOFEJEP aims to contribute to positive behavioral changes regarding issues of gender. Cost: $175,000
  • Institutional capacity building: This project aims to reinforce SOFEJEP’s institutional capacity so that it can better carry out its role as a platform for other local associations. In doing so, SOFEJEP will train 360 men, women, boys, and girls to be leaders in the community and take charge of their community organizations. Cost: $98,000
  • Promoting women’s enterprises: SOFEJEP will contribute to the increased commercialization of agricultural production by women farmers in Beni and Lubero territories. Cost: $69,000

Contact

Therese Katungu, coordinator, +243.997.735.116, and Marie Katsongeri, president, +243.991.418.092, sofejep@yahoo.fr

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