The newest addition to the global Love Matters network is Amour Afrique Congo. Launched on Valentine’s Day 2019, the French language channel targets young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with easy-to-access information and news on love, sex and relationships created by a local team.
While most young people in DRC do have some kind of sex-education at school, the content and scope varies widely and in general, young people have very little access to information about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Within most families, discussion of issues around SRHR is taboo and services are difficult to access, especially for unmarried young people.
To ensure the Amour Afrique Congo platform would attract and engage young Congolese, RNW Media, together with local consultants and members of its existing local team for the Habari RDC platform, carried out intensive research in the country. One aspect of this research was focus group discussions (FGDs) with young Congolese to better understand their needs, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around SRHR issues.
Participants in the FGDs agreed that open discussions of sexuality are largely taboo, so mostly they learn about sex through gossip and personal experience. There was a high degree of misinformation and confusion around sexual health and birth control. The topics young people were most interested in were how to have a happy relationship, how to talk about sex with parents and sexually transmitted infections.