Name: Marceline Kongolo-Bicé
Where: Democratic Republic of Congo
What she does: Leads SOS Femmes en Dangers
Impact: In the face of ongoing atrocities and violence against women in her country, she works to rehabilitate rape victims, and empower women throughout Fizi Territory so that they may better know their rights, defend themselves, and rally together to demand that the voices of the thousands of women raped monthly be heard and addressed
Nominated by: Helah Robinson, Vital Voices Global Partnership
Marceline Kongolo-Bice has been working with women who have been raped since she was 18. SOS Femmes en Dangers, the NGO she founded in 2003, concerns itself not just with healing and rehabilitation of rape victims, but also with empowering women throughout Fizi Territory so that they may better know their rights, defend themselves, and rally together to demand that the voices of the thousands of women raped monthly be heard and addressed.
Her programs include: 1) reporting and documenting incidents of rape; 2) visiting and aiding the psychological recovery of rape victims; 3) collecting funding to pay schooling fees for young girls; 4) organizing conferences and formations in South Kivu to highlight the abuse of women and generate support for their protection and assistance in seeking justice; and, 5) literacy programs for victims of rape unable to continue with school work due to the nature of the crimes committed against them.
Raised in Maniema province, which borders North and South Kivu, war has been her daily reality since birth. Witnessing the massacres and rampant rape of women in her home province, and in every location to which she fled, Marceline devoted her efforts to beginning to advocate for rape victims in Fizi, despite the continued presence of various militias waging their campaign of violence against women. As Marceline saw the degradation in Fizi, in particular concerning women and children, she designed numerous interventions to respond to the most urgent needs. She began a series of conferences to respond to the rampancy of HIV/AIDS in the community which accompanied the rapes, working to break down stereotypes and inform the community on their obligation to support those victimized and forced to carry forever viruses transmitted by perpetrators. In addition, she began regular visits to survivor of rape who had been abandoned by their communities and families.
From 2007 to 2008, Marceline organized: 1) The building of a reception center for victims, which also is the site for educational seminars and community meetings in Fizi; 2) Education of over 500 female students in the region concerning the relationship of education and empowerment in combating human rights violations; 3) Extensive interviewing and reporting concerning over 50 new cases of rape and human rights violations in Fizi; 4) Complete financial support of 15 young girls living alone on the streets, including school fees, 5) Informational seminars on a micro-credit program for victims of sexual violence, for more than 130 women. Marceline made arrangements to provide schooling for 17 young girls in her homeprovince of Maniema and 50 girls in Fizi and organized a literacy program for 73 women in Fizi.