Panafrican News Agency

Congo launches public awareness campaign on evils of gender-based violence

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - The NGO, Avenir Nepad-Congo, on Wednesday launched a 16-day public awareness campaign on the evils of gender-based violence, especially against women.

The launch marked the occasion of the World Day for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence.

The association organized a forum during which three surveys conducted on violence against women in the Republic of Congo were published.

In the first survey, entitled ''Adolescents, Youth and Sexual and Reproductive Health in Congo'', conducted in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Ouesso, Avenir Nepad highlighted the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young girls on the issue of abortions.

It emerged from this survey that young girls between the ages of 17 and 21 have permanent sexual relations. However, according to the study, more than half of them are unaware of contraceptive use.

This exposes them to unwanted pregnancies and the risk of clandestine abortions. A phenomenon that is responsible for the deaths of many women and girls.

In the second study, entitled ''Access to services, rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of COVID-19 in the Republic of Congo", the NGO reports that the total containment decreed by the government, as part of the response to the coronavirus, has had a negative impact on women's reproductive health''.

The third study, entitled ''Impact of COVID-19 on gender-based violence'', states that women have been raped as a result of forced, regular and unusual cohabitation with their spouse or partner. This state of affairs, the survey adds, has led to numerous unplanned pregnancies, in addition to unwanted abortions, also causing deaths.

The coordinator of Avenir Nepad, Etanislas Ngodi, called on the government to regulate and strengthen regulations on gender-based violence in order to protect women, in accordance with the Maputo Declaration.

During the 16 days, the NGO will sensitize them to the phenomenon and will collect their grievances in order to submit them to the government. The forum was opened by the Executive Director of the Center for Research and Documentation on Women, Virginie Ndessabeka.

-0- PANA MB/IS/MTA/VAO 25Nov2020