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Weaving a Way to Independence
30 Jun 2020 -  In Kavumu, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a young woman found a way to change her life. Neema joined a community project, where she learned how to read and write as well as to weave baskets. Community-based complaint networks in the country assist women and men in vulnerable situations through local projects that help them become self-sufficient. These projects include victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel. These networks gather representatives of women's and youth associations, religious leaders, local chiefs and the police. They educate the community on the risks associated with sexual exploitation and abuse and how to report it, develop self-sustainable projects which support victims and act as a critical lifeline between at-risk communities and the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO). Whenever a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse is identified, they are included in a community project, where others from their community also participate. This helps reduce stigma and contributes to creating more resilient communities.