Goma – Tunaweza Portraits

  • About This Project

    The Tunaweza Portraits Project, “Tunaweza” in Swahili meaning “We are able/capable,” is designed to address the gender dynamics and socio-cultural practices that contribute to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Eastern Congo. The ultimate goal of the project is to improve four Goma neighborhoods’ perceptions of girls and their role in society, and will engage adolescent girls who were participant learners of the arts/psychosocial program Courage in Congo (more details about this project can be found here) in a city-wide community arts based project as participant leaders, culminating in the creation of 32 posters and murals that promote the capacity and strength of women and girls.

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    Tunaweza Portraits Project
    Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
    Coming in 2018

    An unintended and unfortunate side effect of the humanitarian SGBV prevention activities and attention to SGBV in the DRC is that it has produced a virtual and physical landscape populated by negative and violent representations and imagery of women and girls. In these representations, women and girls in Eastern Congo are cast as victims, powerless and without agency to address their own issues. In order to increase opportunities for women and girls to create positive change related to SGBV in their community, and to increase the community’s awareness of the capacity of women and girls, Colors of Connection (CC) will collaborate with local community leaders and partners to accomplish 6 goals:

    For 18 adolescent girl participants to: 1) Have increased skills in individual and group creative expression, 2) Have increased-assets focused thinking that promotes leadership of women and girls and fosters development of leadership qualities, 3) Develop critical capacity to distinguish between negative and positive forms of representation of women and girls, 4) Engage as leaders and agents of change in the community 5) Have strengthened social networks in the community (including among peers and mentors), and lastly, for 6) 28 posters and 4 murals promoting positive qualities of women and girls to be created and publicly displayed in 4 neighborhoods in Goma, DRC.

    Overall, Tunaweza Portraits aims to improve four Goma communities’ perceptions of girls and women as leaders and agents of positive change in their society. This project is grounded in the understanding of the therapeutic and transformative power of art for individuals and communities in distress, and in the ability of community arts projects to shift perceptions and inspire further positive actions by the community.