Feeling at Home in DRC – Reflections of PHR's Kenya Coordinator

PHR’s team just returned from a training session in the DRC, where they are working with international and local partners to hold perpetrators accountable for using rape as a weapon of war. This post is one in a series. Learn more about the project.

As a first time visitor to Bukavu, I fell in love with the region’s natural beauty and its people. Being able to converse in Swahili with people I met in town and at PHR’s forensic training workshop allowed me to feel right at home and made the cultural interchange very rich.

I was saddened to see the difficult challenges the people have to face there, which are quite similar to challenges that we face in Kenya but are further compounded in DRC by the general insecurity due to ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country. In the face of these challenges, it was very heartening to see the will of the people to strive to end the menace of rape used as a weapon of war.

It was fascinating to observe that both the men and the women who participated in our training seemed to be equally invested in ending rape in war. It is inspiring to me and convinces me that with such will and determination, rape in war can and will be eradicated in the region.
At the onset of the training in a discussion with some of the participants, I was asked if Kenya has a problem with rape in war. This was enlightening to me as it showed that there was still a great need to publicize the extent of this problem in Kenya. It also demonstrated that there is a real need to build a network in the region to support synergies among professionals working in this field.

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