Skip to content

SCFG launches “Vrai Djo” Campaign to combat gender-based violence in DRC

July 5, 2011

A total of 248 women have reported being raped by soldiers last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (AFP/File, Gwen Dubourthoumieu)

Search for Common Ground’s country office in the Democratic Republic of Congo has recently launched a new campaign, “Est-il un vrai djo?” (Is he a real man?)  to promote positive male role models in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.  In collaboration with Cyberpictures and with support from the British government, the campaign includes five short films as well as three audio spots which will be aired on radio and television throughout the country. Public screenings are also planned for the city of Dongo, in Equateur province.

Violence against women is a major issue in the DRC.  Rape in the country has often been used as a weapon of war, but has continued and even increased after the war’s end. It is estimated that there are as many as 400,000 surviving rape victims living in the DRC today.  Large sectors of society perceive violence against women as a normal part of life.  SFCG has been working to raise awareness about the issues surrounding sexual exploitation and gender based violence, through the use of mobile cinema  and programs like Uishe na Upende (Live and Love), a radio show aimed at helping youth between the ages of 15 and 25 talk seriously about their sexuality, their relationships, and how to avoid the risks of violence and exploitation.

The “Vrai Djo” campaign features Celeo Scram, a famous Congolese rapper.  It seeks to promote dialogue about the role of men in Congolese society and their behavior towards women.  Society presents many opportunities for men—as fathers, boyfriends, employers, or husbands—to treat a woman well or badly. Often society becomes accustomed to sexual abuse, domestic violence and abuse of power, finding such behaviors “normal” or even “part of our culture”. The campaign asks if Congolese men really want to play this negative role.

The films depict a variety of situations and show positive ways that men can react to them. For example, one ad revolves around a job interview, an occasion where sexual favors are sometimes exchanged for jobs. The woman in the ad believes that the man hiring her wants to exploit her sexually, but when she enters the hotel room, she finds that he wants to introduce her to the rest of the staff.  Another shows a man who encourages his wife to pursue her profession and instead of being upset when she returns home late, prepares dinner for her.

“A real man (Vrai Djo) is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to control himself”, explains Celeo, who plays several roles in the videos.  “He is a person who respects himself and respects the women and girls around him”.

“Vrai Djo” is the first media campaign against sexual violence that seeks to promote a positive role for men. “One often sees campaigns that denounce men’s behaviors and say what they should not do, but one never sees a campaign that motivates men to become positive, to find their inner strength, and to respect women and girls,” explains Dirk Koch, our DRC country director.

According to Ronny Kabuika, the director of the ads, “Vrai Djo is a pioneering campaign in DRC, which will encourage a new generation of men.”

Vrai Djo Test emploi (Job Interview)

Vrai Djo Femme au Bureau (Woman at work)

Vrai Djo Education Filles (Girl’s education)

Vrai Djo Respect Femme (Respect Women)

Vrai Djo Femme au Champ (Woman in the fields)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers