Democratic Republic of Congo


According to an April 2014 report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, sexual violence in DRC remains “extremely serious due to its scale, systematic nature and the number of victims.”Millions of women and children in the region need serious external support to recover from violence and to shift cultural norms that accept violent behavior towards women.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has struggled with wars, internal strife, and numerous rebellions for decades. Today, violence continues to plague parts of the country, and as a result women and girls still suffer greatly from gender-based violence. Rape and sexual assault are prevalent, particularly in Congo’s eastern provinces. Due to a widespread sense of impunity, the abuse and mistreatment of women is normalized throughout the country.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Province of the Anglican Church of the Congo (PEAC)  to address violence against women through increasing church and community participation in response, awareness and prevention. The program was piloted in the Diocese of Aru in 2016 to develop a context-specific methodology for use in other dioceses around the DRC. Efforts aim to prevent violence against women by equipping leaders to educate their communities and reduce the devastating effects of violence on individuals and their communities. The program also supports survivors by providing medical care in hospitals and health centers, as well as psychological support and follow-up care. Additionally, support will be provided to increase the number of case hearings against aggressors in a provincial court – a measure which aims to deter and dwindle future violence. In 2018, the program is expanding to five new health zones, reaching the entire Diocese of Aru.  Its focus remains on equipping faith leaders, health center staff, youth and other community leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to educate others about violence against women.


Our work with Women focuses on helping communities promote the rights of women and children and move toward the vision that everyone deserves a life free from violence in a society where they are treated with dignity and respect. Only then can communities truly heal and thrive.

Gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response are cross-cutting themes that shape and inform all of Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs worldwide. In order to sustainably and equitably address hunger, poverty, disease and post-disaster relief and recovery, local attitudes and customs around gender, power and gender-based violence must also be taken into account.

Read more about Gender Equality & GBV