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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

"Still No News on the Congo?" Public event on sexual and gender based violence in DRC


"Still no news on Congo?" is a public event on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has been conceived by Amnesty International, Doctors of the World UK and the APPG on the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Despite the fact that appalling violence against women continues as a strategic weapon in the economic conflict in the Eastern region of DRC - the media is almost silent and the British public are largely unaware of the situation.

The event, chaired by Eric Joyce MP, questions why there is ‘no news' on Congo and demonstrates that writers, journalists and photographers are finding new ways to re-invent the devastation faced by Congo in order to engage new audiences.

An exhibition followed by a perfomance

The event will feature photographs from award-winning photographer Andrew McConnell, in collaboration with Doctors of the World UK, whose heart-rending portraits of sexual violence survivors from DRC display incredible nobility and fortitude.

The event will also feature the award-winning writer Lynn Nottage whose play 'Ruined' opens at the Almeida Theatre in April. We expect Lynn to be accompanied by at least one member of the cast to perform an extract from the play. (Please see below for more information about ‘Ruined'). Lynn Nottage developed the idea of the play when working for Amnesty International on testimonials from women in the DRC.
She will be joined by Mike Thompson - BBC Foreign Affairs Correspondent - who has recently returned from DRC and is writing a book about his experiences, as well as Judith Wanga - a young Congolese woman raised in London - who will describe her return to her homeland documented by BBC3 (due to be screened 30 March) and her devastation on discovering the hidden conflict with it's appalling levels of sexual violence.

We very much hope you will be able to join us and ask that you reserve your free place by emailing tamsin@congonow.org

‘Ruined'
Lynn Nottage's powerful drama is set in a small mining town deep in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Mama Nadi's bar her rules apply. No arguments, no politics, no guns. When two new girls tainted with the stigma of their recent past arrive, Mama is forced to reassess her business priorities and personal loyalties.

Read more about our projects in DRC

Friday, 12 March 2010

Deafening silence in Darfur as the conflict reignites - our team is evacuated


On the 24th February, our team in Darfur was forced to evacuate after the sudden attack by against rebel forces.

This new crisis has led to the internal displacement of over 100,000 people, further increasing their vulnerability, as they already suffer from insufficient healthcare.

We fear that without access to food, water, proper sanitation and healthcare, the risks of malnutrition, meningitis and epidemics will increase significantly.

Dr Jerome Larche, our head of mission in Sudan expressed great concern: "We urge the Sudanese government and the UN to give us the security assurances required to re-enter the area immediately. Our assessment teams urgently need access before this already catastrophic humanitarian disaster gets any worse. In the meantime we are preparing for an emergency intervention."



Fears amongst our volunteers in the field

Peter Camp, one of our volunteer logisticians on the ground, says that there is a lot of frustration felt among NGOs in Darfur, as we have lost all contact with our local team and he fears that this crisis will only worsen an already difficult situation.

"The whole Sudan expat team will be in Nyala on Sunday for a team meeting. We will all be working hard to prepare for the time when we can get back in. We hope that will be soon as it is now one month since the evacuation from Feina. It is frustrating but in reality we need a little time to be ready to respond. We can only speculate what we will find when we get there, but it will not be good."


The sound of silence

The lack of media coverage about this emergency evacuation leaves the local population entirely at the mercy of abuse, violence and disease, and undermines the gravity of the situation on the global stage as it remains excluded from external help.

"We will be keeping the team in London updated as this is not a small event, but a major crisis. I understand that there has been virtually no coverage in the UK and so you may want to check out the Reuters Africa web site or Reuters Alternet. Their coverage has been mostly accurate as far as I know."

If you would like to read the latest articles in the news about this conflict, find out more about our project in Darfur, or any volunteer opportunities there with Doctors of the World, please email swright@doctorsoftheworld.org.uk

Our win last night at the Tower Hamlets Third Sector Excellence Awards

We are proud to announce our success at last night’s Tower Hamlets Third Sector Excellence Awards.

We won the award for our work at Project:London supporting vulnerable people.

“We were thrilled to receive this recognition, and would like to dedicate the Award to our volunteers, partners and of course our service users.” Elinor Middleton, our development director who represented Doctors of the World UK.

It is a testament to the support and  commitment of our staff and volunteers that we were recognised in this way.

Thank you to all of those who help us to improve the lives of those most in need.