DRL sponsors 24 democracy, human rights, and labor programs in Africa. Current funding for DRL programs in Africa exceeds $17 million. Program topics include prevention of child soldier recruitment, voter empowerment, improved and expanded media coverage, and human rights monitoring and documentation. The following are examples of the kinds of programs DRL funds in Africa.
Sexual and Gender Based Violence
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRL grantees are working to incorporate communications technology - including satellite phones, cell phones, an early warning system, a reporting hotline, digital mapping, satellite-internet, and video-conferencing - into current programming to increase civilian protection and enhance the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) cases in remote areas of North and South Kivu. The project will operate an early warning system in Goma and Bukavu that will serve as a central hub for alerting authorities to potential threats or outbreaks of violence in the remote areas of Walikale, North Kivu and Fizi, South Kivu, respectively. An underlying goal of this program is to provide a wider group of Congolese officials, donors, implementers and NGOs with an example of how communications technology can increase the reach and efficacy of assistance not only with regard to SGBV, but also other areas, including health, education, vocational training and food security.
Bringing Media to “Information Dark” Areas
Another DRL project created the Darfur News and Information Service (DNIS) a news, information, and education shortwave broadcast service in Arabic, Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa for internally displaced persons and other vulnerable populations in (Northern) Sudan. DNIS promotes human rights, political dialogue, and peace processes by providing relevant, timely, and objective news, information, and educational programs for Darfur citizens so they can make informed decisions regarding issues that affect them. The project is continuing with the addition of two full-time journalists to allow DNIS to sustain the production of daily news broadcasts and in-depth news and information programming, as well as adding Friday broadcasts and increasing the quantity of field reporting and in-depth interviews and features. In addition, the program will continue the production of a radio drama series that highlights social and civic issues in an engaging format. The innovative text feedback system, begun during the current grant, will expand its ability to obtain direct comments and information from residents of Darfur and related refugee camps, and the project may also look to utilize voice service via mobile phone.
Improving the rights of marginalized groups
A DRL program in Tanzania strengthens the Tanzanian government's understanding of international human rights norms and increases the technical capacity of government officials to develop comprehensive human rights legislation that protects marginalized groups. DRL’s program partner will implement four complementary activities: 1) draft legal memoranda that outline international human rights standards and the rights of marginalized groups, analyze comparative state practice, and detail methods to strengthen the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance; 2) develop three in-depth handbooks on human rights and minority protections; 3) provide legislative assistance to the government by reviewing and analyzing existing and proposed human rights legislation; and 4) facilitate a series of workshops and consultations with the Commission on Human Rights and Good Governance to develop and enforce legal mechanisms that promote accountability and tolerance. Upcoming programs will continue to support efforts to improve rights for marginalized groups.
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