Thank you so much dear Shamin Nabuuma. It is hard to work in conflict and post-conflict in the environment of collapse state. However, we can't close hands looking people dying when we can still assist them. It was a priceless but sometimes painful learning experience for me when I engaged in the doctorate research and working with women survivors of sexual violence or living with HIV/AIDS in a country where the medical system does not work effectively. Committed to this, these women survivors of sexual violence or living with HIV/AIDS taught me a lot from their experiences. It was painful to learn what they experienced and endured. However, I now PAPROF/ACTORS will be able to bridge the gap with support such as this encouragement we receive from you today, if only many will accept to "ACT TOGETHER AND SAVE" them.
Masheka Bercky Zihindula is currently a PhD candidate in School of Social Science, Gender Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He holds three master degrees in Community Development (major in Project planning), Socio-politic environment (major in medical waste management) and MBA (major in strategic and project management) respectively. He worked more than 20 years in local NGOs in the South Kivu province, eastern DRC. During the turmoil DRC’s period, he worked 12 years as the project and program management at the Panzi Hospital focused on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and HIV/AIDS. Spending eighty-five percent of his time at the hospital with women survivors of sexual violence and persons living with HIV/AIDS, he wondered how they struggle to develop new means of living after the hardship life went through. He decided to stand against the suffering of this abandoned group and created the PAPROF/ACTORS as a platform to gather and support their livelihood mechanism. His research at the PhD level “women livelihood coping strategies in the aftermath of conflict-related sexual violence” gave him more insight of that the struggle to survive financially was the primary battle fought by these women.
PAPROF (Programme d’Appui et Promotion de la Femme) established in 2003 in South Kivu region of the DRC but it was effective since 2014 when the objectives were revised to be more effective and efficient. It became PAPROF/ACTORS. ACTORS stands for “Act Together to Save”. The idea is to remain with only the denomination “ACTORS” in the future. PAPROF/ACTORS prime target group is survivors of sexual-based violence, persons living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable persons. It establishes ways of reintegrating the target group back into communities and to them rebuild their lives in a sustainable manner. PAPROF/ACTORS work towards helping not just the medical needs of the victims but also their social and economic challenges and rights. PAPROF/ACTORS is involved in supporting the target group through mobilising support, providing access to healthcare, community reintegration schemes and family mediation. PAPROF/ACTORS also support children born from rape and children orphaned in the implementation areas. PAPROF/ACTORS’ team, besides the director (whose details are in the first paragraph), is composed of well-trained social workers, nurses women, medical doctors, agronomist, economists. PAPROF/ACTORS office is located in Muhumba, avenue Pangu number 8.
Since 2016, PAPROF/ACTORS has helped 2,164 individuals (80% are survivors of sexual violence) rose from poverty using the Village Savings & Loans (VSL) model. Although the focus is in the rural area for instance in Walungu, Kabare, Kaziba and Uvira with 79 VSL groups, PAPROF/ACTORS has created so far 2 VSL group in the Bukavu city. VSL secures and stabilises their future and supports community integration. In integrating research in its implementation strategies, this project entails improving the quality of life through sustainable villager saving and loan associations. PAPROF/ACTORS has received fund from ‘This is EPIC” (a United Kingdom Agency) for training and creation of 81 VSLA. For further details please go to www.paprofdrc.com or call at Whatsapp +27782886388