Working Paper

IDS Working Paper 578

Women’s Agency and Humanitarian Protection in North and South Kivu, DRC

Published on 25 November 2022

This Working Paper analyses the role and practices of women’s groups in relation to women’s protection in the provinces of North and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Contrasting qualitative materials from communities in Congo with the literature on women’s agency, we explore the spaces, strategies, and repertoires used by women to increase their participation in community protection structures. Using case studies from North and South Kivu, including protection projects supported by ActionAid and Oxfam, we show how women’s leadership groups can constitute an empowering space and vehicle for women’s collective negotiation for protection which spans across several interrelated spheres: domestic, community, and professional, as well as legal, religious, and customary. Through our analysis of how women’s groups shape protection discourses and progressively change practices, we aim to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of what a women-led approach to protection means in practice as well as the challenges and opportunities that women face in order to expand their agency in a conflict-affected and patriarchal context.

Cite this publication

Maubert, C.; Allouche, J.; Hamuli, I.; Kuliumbwa Lulego, E.; Marchais, G.; Mushi Mugumo, F. and Nazneen, S. (2022) Women’s Agency and Humanitarian Protection in North and South Kivu, DRC, IDS Working Paper 578, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2022.076

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Institute of Development Studies


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