Dem. Republic of the Congo: Justine Masika Bihamba

I request people to unconditionally help victims of violence and war. Unforgettable moments occur when I successfully mediate for families and then see women return to their matrimonial homes.

— Justine Masika Bihamba

Justine Masika Bihamba (40) has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 1990 fighting poverty, promoting peace and human rights, promoting rural women, fighting sexual violence and supporting war victims. She organizes workshops within local communities and listening centers, grants rotating credits, and provides psychosocial, medical and legal support for victims of sexual violence. Through her dedicated work people are overjoyed to have obtained justice, gained back their health and independence and experience.

Justine Masika Bihamba fights injustice in the society. This is often attributed to social and structural mindsets that hurt women. During her activities, she encounters conflicts because of rivalry and misunderstanding. To surmount these difficulties, Mrs Masika gets strength from her Christian faith. Her infectious personality encourages her colleagues. She watches in disbelief, when funds, which she desperately needs, are wasted. What also gives her the needed punch when she is tempted to abandon the work, are the constant requests from women and victims, whom she quickly defends. She is motivated by her achievements and the gratitude from those she helps. The collective responsibility of the network provides an opportunity for a greater impact. She manages the social division at Pole Institute, where she coordinates a platform entitled “Women Synergy for Sexual Violence Victims of the North Kivu”. She is an active member of diverse networks such as Glideric, Inter-Congolese Dialogue and Reflexion Group, Information and Communication, Women Leaders of North Kivu (Novib), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Alert International, the Belgium Cooperation, Usaid and other humanitarian, political and development actors. She obtained Swiss cooperation funding in 2000 to train counselors and assist victims, who obtained justice, health, independence and their joy back, thanks to her dedication. She hopes to see rural women organized to take their lives and destiny in their own hands, without fear of abuses.

Pole Institute Synergy des Femmes pour les Victimes des violences Sexuelles (Sfvs)