The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is often referred to as “the worst place in the world to be a woman” due to high levels of sexual gender-based violence. To address this issue, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) supports community groups working to address the root causes of sexual violence in the DRC—militarization, weak rule of law, and the weak presence of women in decision-making spaces. Since 2012, AJWS has supported Solidarité des Femmes de Fizi pour le Bien-Etre Familial (SOFIBEF), an organization that aims to defend and protect women's human rights and involve women in mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution. In 2014, building on UN Resolution 1325, which calls for women’s participation at all decision-making levels to resolve conflict, SOFIBEF began engaging with state, traditional, and religious leaders to demand the representation of women leaders in key public spaces. As a result of its efforts, women are now serving as town chiefs, neighborhood wardens, managers of local government services, and presidents of local peace and justice commissions. SOFIBEF also co-founded a support group for women human rights defenders and has joined a growing national movement pushing for equal representation of women and men at all levels of Congolese society.
In 2014, AJWS made a $20,000 grant to SOFIBEF to address sexual and gender-based violence by advocating for the implementation of legal instruments that protect women's rights, running radio ads on gender issues, providing psychosocial support to survivors, and facilitating dialogues on women's inheritance and land rights.