(please click here for the French version)
On March 9, 2022, at the Governorate of the Ituri Province and under the chairmanship of the Vice-Governor of the Ituri Province, Divisional Commissioner Benjamin ALONGABONY, acting as the incumbent, an activity was organized to hand over advocacy notes from the populations of the Territory of Djugu and to hand over messages of positive change of social norms for peace and mutual acceptance, in order to contribute to the reduction of violence and exactions. These documents, developed by State and non-State actors in Djugu Territory and intended for provincial and national authorities, were produced with the support of the ESPAD project through VNG International.
The actors identified four themes selected among the security problems in the Djugu Security Action Plan (PAS). These include the resolution of all types of land conflicts and administrative boundaries; the restoration of peace; the reconstruction, rehabilitation, re-equipping and supply of pharmaceutical products to health facilities; and the fight against drug abuse in Djugu Territory.
Prior to the actual handing over of the advocacy notes, a general overview of the above-mentioned themes was made, successively by the President of the Customary Chiefs of Djugu Territory, the Coordinator of the Civil Society of Djugu Territory, the President of the Territorial Youth Council, and the Representative of the Mothers. All of them mentioned that these problems require a response and commitment from the authorities that can allow the normalization and resolution of these situations. This phase was then closed by a question and answer session.
The Vice-Governor, on behalf of the provincial authority, promised to make use of these documents and to make his observations. However, he recalled that the problem of Djugu requires the awareness of each and everyone so that together we can find the much sought after peace.
This meeting was also an opportunity for the ESPAD project to hand over the messages of positive change in social norms for peace, decommunization of facts, tolerance and mutual acceptance in Djugu Territory to the provincial authority, and to listen to and validate the audio spot related to said activity. Any observations made on the spot will be integrated for its enrichment before its broadcast by local radio stations and social networks.
This hearing was attended by members of the Governor's Office (Director of Cabinet in charge of Political, Administrative and Legal Affairs, Senior Advisor to the Governor, Advisor on Land Affairs, Gender Advisor, Social Affairs Officer and the Communication Unit), the Provincial Coach, the Mayor of the Commune of Mongbwalu, the President of the Customary Chiefs of the Territory of Djugu accompanied by two customary chiefs, the Gender Office, the Federation of Congolese Enterprises (FEC), the Chief Medical Officer of the Zones (Damas/Djugu), the Representative of the Displaced of Djugu, MONUSCO, the P-DDRCS, the VNG International HQ Delegation and its Country Representative on a work visit to Ituri, the Head of the Cordaid/Ituri Office, the partners of the ESPAD project (Cordaid, FOMI, Justice Plus), the press, the youth (girls and boys), as well as the coordination of the civil society.
To close the event, a press briefing was held, during which the Vice-Governor, the Territorial Civil Society Coordinator and the VNGI/Ituri Coordinator reported on the day's activities.
The "Ensemble pour la sécurité et la Paix à Djugu" (ESPAD) program is one of the programs implemented by VNG International in the DRC in partnership with Cordaid, the Forum des Mamans de l'Ituri (FOMI) and Justice Plus, with the UN’s Stabilization and Support Unit (SSU) funding. It aims to stabilize and improve the performance and quality of territorial administration, justice, decentralized territorial entities, law enforcement and security forces (Congolese National Police & DRC Armed Forces), and women as actors of social change through their participation in the stabilization and peacebuilding process in Djugu Territory, which is plagued by armed group activism.