Girl ambassadors for peace
Girl ambassadors for peace
4. Marriage by Commission
Marriage by commission is a phenomenon by which the marriage happens with involvement of third party. This is an old practice but still going on, especially in rural areas. Parents, friends or relatives will be commissioned by the boy to search out a girl for him. Many times this phenomenon ends up with kidnapping a girl and taking her to the boy’s house. Then a marriage agreement is concluded by both families. Obviously, the couple doesn’t know each other and in many cases, this results in misunderstandings that lead to separation, cheating, divorce, and the parents’ overstepping reasonable boundaries of their children’s family. The message is to denounce this bad practice and call for its end.
5. Victims of Sexual Violence
This drama talks about how difficult it is for girl victims of sexual violence and rape to be reintegrated within their communities because of some cultural norms such as child marriage, which tolerate sexual violence practices within some Congolese communities. Fortunately the girl victim of rape in the skit is able to meet a Girl Ambassador for Peace who helps her to find a job as a vocal women’s leader.
6. Women and Inheritance
This skit talks about how girls don’t have access to inheritance from their parents. The story is about a girl who is married at high cost (her husband pays a large dowry), to the extent that they live a poor married life as a consequence. At the same time, her father uses the dowry to invest in business and become a rich man. Unfortunately, when he dies, the daughter whose dowry made him rich doesn’t get any share of the inheritance. The message is that in Congolese communities, girls contribute a lot to making a family’s wealth, with either their dowry or their work. Likewise, girls should have access to inheritance when the parents die.
7. Women's Access to Decision-Making Positions
This drama talks about the process of women accessing decision-making positions as a collective effort; not doing “women’s work” only.
8. Freedom of Expression of Women in the Household
This skit talks about how most married women are silenced by their husbands and husband’s families. This practice not only keeps the wife in a state of perpetual frustration, but also keeps the family from progressing toward social and economic development, because the heart of the household (the woman) is silenced. The skit shows how culture and traditions continue to keep women silenced in family meetings, churches, public gatherings, etc. The final message of the skit is that women have rights to speech and to express themselves. When women are given the right of expression, their families and communities are better off both in terms of economy and well-being.
9. The Importance of a Dowry for Congolese Women
The wedding dowry has become a sort of business these days. When girls are born, fathers see dollars. In fact, many daughters are given names of different forms of currency, including “cow,” which is how the dowry for the girl is measured. Families discuss the dowry in terms of cows, at a value of $500 per cow. Recently, a 19-year-old girl at the Maman Shujaa Center told the GA4P that her father said that her price was 10 cows ($5,000 UDS), insinuating that she would not be allowed to marry until her father received that price. As a result, the dowry price often prevents a marriage born of love, a marriage of a bride and groom’s choosing. In fact, many men of lesser means die single because of the dowry. Note that the dowry is paid by the boy and varies according to the family class of the girl, and how beautiful or valuable the girl is considered to be.
The message is to make people aware of Congo’s Family Code, in which the dowry is not a condition for marriage. The Family Code and laws of Congo stipulate only consent between boy and girl, without any external influence such as dowry or third party. In the Family Code, the dowry is considered a gift exchange between families and therefore is not obligatory.
10. Importance of Work for Young Women
Work is very important to everyone’s life, everywhere in the world. If employed or self-employed, a girl will be economically independent and therefore in more control of her surroundings and circumstances – and therefore safer. Unfortunately, girl’s employment in DRC is still a big problem. Being unemployed (having no legal job) and therefore dependent on others, girls are at high risk of being sexually abused, raped, involved in prostitution, having an unwanted pregnancy, and dropping out of school. The message is to call upon the government to establish an employment system for girls as a way of ending prostitution, sexual abuse and sexual violence among young girls.
11. Young Women in Prayer Groups
Prayer groups or praying groups are gatherings for young girls and boys with support of their churches. In these groups, boys and girls spend nights together in one place doing so-called “praying.” In fact, many young people (boys and girls) use these times for activities other than prayer. As a result, we are now witnessing unwanted pregnancies, abortions, sexual abuses, and sometimes pastors and priests using the opportunity to involve young girls in sexual relationships with them. The message is to warn parents and guardians about these uncontrolled places, and that what is actually going on may be different from what they are assuming.
We associate each drama with the principles laid out in UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1889, and Congolese laws against the discrimination of women. We use the occasion of these programs to teach these principles to a large public audience, in person or through radio.