Africa

The IWMF’s first reporting trip to Eastern DR Congo gave six women journalists the opportunity to witness economic development programs taking place in one of the world’s most notorious conflict zones, North Kivu province. The group of international journalists took advantage of the relative calm to travel throughout the war-torn country to witness NGO and private sector initiatives to increase development in the region, meet local entrepreneurs, and gain a deep understanding of the relationship between alternative livelihoods and conflict reduction. After a four-day briefing session by international experts on the region, along with a specialized journalism security training workshop, the journalists were ready to walk into one of Africa’s most avoided regions to explore stories of resilience, progress, and hope.

  • Security TrainingDay 1 – 4The first trip began in Uganda with a four-day briefing session by international experts on the region, along with a specialized journalism security training workshop which included hostile environment scenarios such as ambush/mass casualty situations, encounters with a gang of thugs, and being captured by an armed militia and threatened with rape.

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  • Security TrainingDay 5The fellows and IWMF staff arrived safely in the city of Goma, located in DR Congo’s North Kivu province, the final destination of the IWMF Eastern DR Congo Reporting Fellowship. This first in a series of reporting trips focuses on economic development issues in North Kivu province, notoriously known as a place of death, rape and conflict minerals.

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  • CongoDay 6 / 7Day 6 kicked off with a breakfast interview with the mayor of Goma. The fellows used both days to split up into independent reporting teams focusing on women who own and operate beauty salons in the poorest neighborhoods of Goma, teenage mothers and the vocational programs that provide training for them, Goma’s vibrant cheese industry, and survivors of sexual violence.

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  • Congo  GorillaDay 8The IWMF fellows left Goma to visit Virunga National Park, established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park. The park is known for its exceptional bio-diversity, containing more bird, mammal and reptile species than any protected area on the African continent, most notably: mountain gorillas.

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  • Congo BoatDay 9 / 10After spending the majority of day 9 in Virunga National Park, the fellows headed back to Goma to spend day 10 in smaller teams, exploring UN DDRRR’s efforts to disarm, demobilize, repatriate, reintegrate and resettle foreign armed groups, visiting the island of Idjwi in Lake Kivu and meeting with local women journalists.

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  • Congo IDP CampDay 11Day 11 was the last day of the first IWMF-led reporting trip to Eastern DR Congo. The group finished up their reporting activities and most of them headed back to Kigali, Rwanda, to fly out while Elaisha Stokes and Nastasya Tay stayed in Goma to finish up their reporting.

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