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Is He A Real Man? The “Vrai Djo” SFCG Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Is He A Real Man? The “Vrai Djo” SFCG Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC, sexual violence is a community-wide problem.  Rape, in the DRC has been used as a weapon of war and sadly continues to increase even after.  According to the peacebuilding NGO Search for Common Ground or SFCG, it is estimated that there are over 400,000 surviving rape victims living in the DRC today.  In this environment violence against women has become normative behavior.

SFCG says “the campaign turns common assumptions about male behavior in familiar situations, such as going to a job interview, on their head. The peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground, believes sexual violence is best addressed when men are active partners in the solution.
According to C-Picks at C-Change, Country Director Dirk Koch, explains “One often sees campaigns that denounce men’s behaviors and say what they should not do, but one never sees a campaign that motivates men to become positive, to find their inner strength, and to respect women and girls.”

The Vrai Djo Campaign features five short films and three audio spots which are broadcasted throughout the country. The PSAs (Public Service Announcements) feature Celeo Scram, “a Congolese superstar with a positive image”, In the spots he says he says “A real man (Vrai Djo) is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to control himself.

The campaign instead shows a person who respects himself and respects the women and girls around him.” The films portray scenarios that often lead to sexual harassment or abuse which would be familiar in the Congolese context (e.g., a job interview or a wife returning late from work) and shows instead opportunities for men to support the women in their lives.

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As in the video shown above, each plot starts with a situation in which a man appears to be in a position where he might normally abuse a woman, but because of his positive character, he instead decides to respect the dignity of women.

I am communications strategist and social entrepreneur leveraging new media and digital technology for social change. Read more
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