ASOV Stockholm have recently been to visit Burundi, and continued the important work to support people who are at risk, or have been exposed to sexual discrimination and violence at home. We have talked to, and educated people about violence in close relationships, equality and norms about sexual intercourse.

“There is a great increased need for continued knowledge about various issues in these countries. It is important that we continue the equality work, and everyone must help each other in these questions and issues.” – Jeanne Masimango

Changes at the societal level are a long process that takes several years to implement. ASOV Burundi, in collaboration with ASOV DR Congo and RFSU Stockholm, has taken great steps towards achieving these changes.

What was the project about?
“The project has been running for 3 years, but is now coming to an end. We have focused on supporting vulnerable women in Congo and Burundi through vocational training and preventing HIV/AIDS. Many of these women are forced into poverty, ignored by society’s decision makers and live on the fringes. Providing basic conditions for earning one’s own money or having one’s voice heard has been the main goal of the project. The most important thing in this equality and democracy work is to provide knowledge and education, a safe platform to be able to express yourself, both as a man or a woman, but that the conversation should not be controlled or governed by us. Opinions and thoughts about change must take place indirectly by those who are most exposed”

How was the response?
“In many societies there may be a patriarchal structure that is maintained for reasons about power. There may consist of threats, and an imbalance in gender equality issues that affect the most vulnerable. Having platforms for everyone where issues such as norms, consent and gender equality are raised gave an inclusive and positive result. Often it can be local politicians who only talk about these target groups but do not interact, what ASOV does is to create forums that highlight the importance of talking to each other about different issues and thoughts, to provide an opportunity for everyone to say what they think and feel gave and gives a good response”

How did it feel to be a part of the project?
The past year has offered many dialogues and thoughts about how and things can take place, and how things can change. It has been incredibly fun and engaging to see now in recent times, that people from the different target groups are positive to engage politically or by different ways aspire to be a decision maker in the future. Many practical questions that are being raised are a good result of the work we do as an organization, and it creates opportunities for change for many people, which makes me happy. In addition, ASOV Stockholm meets many quota refugees who come from Burundi or Congo every year, having a close relationship creates a knowledge within the organization about what it is like in these countries, it means in practice that many gain a great deal of trust and confidence around ASOV. They have already gained an insight of the organization that takes place in these countries, which makes them feel safe to contact us with various questions or problems that they are experiencing. The trust for the organizations in Europe and Sweden is increasing, which is really fun for me personally, but also for the organization.

What are the future challenges?
”There is a great need for continued knowledge about various issues in these countries, as I mentioned, we see an increased need for people to have the opportunity to get involved and influence, for example, politics, or how to go about in reaching higher studies, studying at university or how one’s body works. This was not so relevant just 4-5 years ago when many thought that politics was for men or for other people. It is important that we continue the gender equality work and that everyone is engaging to help achieve this, only together we can create a change.”

ASOV Stockholm conducts projects and close collaborations with our global sister organizations ASOV DR Congo, ASOV Burundi and ASOV Tanzania to create social change. ASOV Stockholm supports these sister organizations through public education and resources to support them in demanding their human rights. The development projects have contributed to help women living with HIV or who are close to HIV-positive by, for example, receiving vocational training in sewing in northern DR Congo.

The final and long-term goal of the project is that the capacity building in the
collaboration has led to the participants being able to take over and manage the
operations independently.

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