KINSHASA, DR Congo, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire – The Gertler Family Foundation (GFF), in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), marked World AIDS Day by launching an aggressive new education campaign to stop violence against women in the DRC and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the military.
The campaign was kicked off at a ceremony at Camp Kokolo, in the capital of Kinshasa, during which military officials released two 40-page booklets with color illustrations deploring violence against women and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The GFF produced 15,000 of the Lingala language booklets, which will be distributed on military bases in all of the DRC’s 11 provinces.
“Our heartfelt thank you goes to the Gertler Family Foundation, who, along with us, believes that hurting and abusing women is an atrocity in the country,” said Professor Michel Nsumbu, the FARDC Project Manager who is overseeing the campaign.
Experts have traced an epidemic of HIV/AIDS and violence against women in the DRC to its long history of armed conflict. Studies show that women in the areas of conflict are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault, often by soldiers in armed groups, including the Army.
The new campaign, which coincides with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, is part of the military’s PALS program, which FARDC began in 2006 to systematically fight sexual violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS within its ranks.
“Education is the key to prevention, and the Gertler Family Foundation is honored to be working in partnership with the DRC’s military to combat these problems on behalf of the people of the DRC and the Armed Forces,” said Dan Gertler, co-founder of GFF and senior advisor to the Fleurette Group. “We hope our efforts help the DRC build a better tomorrow.”
About The Gertler Family Foundation
An initiative of the Gertler Family Trust, the GFF is committed to helping meet the needs of vulnerable Congolese people. Since its inception in 2004, the GFF has invested millions of dollars in health, education, emergency relief, infrastructure, culture and other projects across the DRC, helping to change the lives of countless Congolese.