Women’s poverty remains a key issue of concern in Eastern Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo. As an organization that has been in existence since 1996, we have come to realize that women’s awareness on issues of their rights has significantly increased mainly due to the concerted efforts by women’s rights organisations over the years to create awareness on women’s rights.However, this level of awareness is not necessarily associated with an equally improved financial status for many of these women and poverty remains the most pervasive issue. Women remain poor and financially under privileged because they have less opportunities or are disadvantaged to the extent that they have little capacity to take advantage of the opportunities available to improve their livelihoods through increased income.
Eastern Africa is also constantly in a volatile environment where peace and security or lack thereof are issues confronting the population at any one given time. In situations of conflict, women are the most likely to suffer in different ways such as being raped and other human rights abuses, food insecurity, poor reproductive health outcomes, and the burden of holding the family together.
EASSI has been working since 2010 to support women informal cross border traders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania increase their economic self reliance through training and capacity building on business management. Under this the project on Economic Empowerement for post conflict affected women, EASSI now moves to the Democratic Republic of Congo to economically empower war affected.
With support from Global Fund for Women has started training women in individual skills required to have a strong voice for economic self-reliance. The trainings are part of the "Economic Empowerment for post conflict affected Women" project in Goma, Uvira and Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This project focuses on training selected women leaders and entrepreneurs in life skills, entrepreneurial skills, business skills, and life planning skills related to food security and water. This package of skills and knowledge builds abilities and confidence, enabling women to have a say in decision making processes in their own lives, within their households, as well as in the public sphere. Such skills are important if women are to overcome the challenges brought about by conflict which makes them vulnerable to human rights abuse.