Page views in 2019
tackling misinformation and confusion
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.
DRC has a poor ranking on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index and gender-based violence is a serious problem. According to the 2013-14 Demographic and Health report, based on a nationwide survey conducted by Congolese government bodies, 71% of women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV), and 64% of girls aged 15 – 19 reported non-consensual first sex. Thirty-three percent of married women aged 15 – 24 reported sexual violence from their husband within the previous year, and armed groups continue to use rape and sexual violence against women as weapons of war.
However, DRC has signed the Maputo Protocol and officially enshrined it as national law in 2018. Included within the Maputo Protocol are promises to eliminate discrimination against women; ban harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and early childhood marriage; and protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising abortion in some cases. The implications of adopting the protocol are far reaching, and Amour Afrique aims to play a role in ensuring information is available and awareness is raised.
Explore the possibilities on love, sex and relationships
Would you like to join us in creating safe spaces for young people to make informed choices to have safer, healthier and happier sex and relationships? Please contact us to explore the possibilities.