MONUSCO (UNPOL) Police Officers' team specialized in gender-based sexual violence sensitized, on July 27, 55 students at Don Bosco Ngangi Institute located in Karisimbi commune, Goma. The objective of the awareness session was, among other things, to make the teenagers aware of the concept of gender, which is still poorly perceived in Congolese society.
Two playlets were performed for this purpose by students to concretely show common examples illustrating the sexual, physical and moral violence based on gender suffered by women and girls on a daily basis.
These playlets were followed by a debate on gender, gender inequalities, gender-based discrimination and different forms of sexual violence.
"The objective is to sensitize and make young people aware of sexual violence and the concepts of gender. We know that there are still many inequalities in Congolese society. We want young people to become the driving force for the change. They should through their daily activities adopt a behavior that will promote gender equality for their adult life. They should start acting now," said Jean-Guy Isaya, the team leader for the police officers specialized in the gender-based sexual violence.
At the end of the session, Noella, 16, one of the participants, said: "Men and women are equal in doing the house cores and at work. Here at school, there is a male headmaster, Father Jean-Marie Muhima. We could as well have a nun for this position. At home, men and women alike can take care of the children".
Another participant, Joshua, 15, further said, "Men and women are equal. There is not a single job a man can do that woman can't. Women can take up any position. A woman can even become Head of State if she so wishes".
The July 27 session was the third of its kind at Don Bosco Ngangi Institute. In total, some 200 students aged 15 to almost 18 participated in these special meetings organized by the UNPOL team specialized in gender-based sexual violence.
In 2017, UNPOL section made a plea to the representations of Canada and Sweden to the UN in New York so that police officers trained for this purpose are seconded to the Mission to form the said new unit which now exists since December 2020. It has nine members made up of six women and three men. Five are based in Goma and four in Bukavu.
Jean-Guy Issaya is an inspector in the Royal Canadian Gendarmery. He specialized in the field of national security and training management in general. He personally attended various training courses on gender and gender-based sexual violence before joining MONUSCO in DR Congo in 2020.
In addition to training in Goma and Bukavu, Jean-Guy Isaya says this special UNPOL unit also conducts capacity- building and mentoring with the Congolese National Police (PNC) and in particular for its two units in Goma and Bukavu tasked to combat violence and sexual crimes committed against children or committed by children.
In the coming weeks, the United Nations Police Team specialized in gender-based sexual violence will organize similar activities in different schools in Goma.