Sunday 18.06.17 is #YellowSunday — the Congolese people’s annual, one-day, mass-participation campaign which asks goodwill people across the globe, first, to wear something yellow in solidarity with Congolese women, their families, communities and country; second, to take a picture of their yellow outfit and upload it on social media using hashtag #YellowSunday to spread public awareness – and, for the first time this year, to donate £10; €10, $10 or whatever they can in aid of Congolese women living in conflict and post-conflict zones to train as nurses.
In Congolese mythology, yellow symbolises wealth – and the greatest wealth Congo has is its women, the backbone Congolese society, whose suffering – over nearly 20 years of wars and conflicts that continue to consume Congo – seem to go unnoticed. By going yellow – or by encouraging others to go yellow – you are joining a community of campaigners and extraordinary people across the globe adding their voices to those of Congolese women calling for justice to protect their families and communities; opportunities to help improve their country’s ability to fight treatable diseases and to save millions lives each year, and gender equality to help Congo recover from injuries it has endured.
- When: Sunday 18.06.17
- Who: You (and please do encourage your friends, families, partner, neighbours, university, church, workplace and community to go yellow too; we need to engage at last 100, 000 people to go yellow on #YellowSunday)
- What: Wear something yellow on Sunday 18.06.17 in solidarity with Congolese women, their families, communities and country.
- Where: Anywhere across the globe you might be: at home, airport, church, work or market; in bed, park, bar, rain — and at anytime!
- Then: Take a picture or two of your yellow outfit and other preparations you have made and uplard them on social media using hashtag #YellowSunday to help spread awareness.
- After: Donate a £10; €10, $10 or whatever you can to support 1, 000 Congolese women living in conflict and post-conflict zones to train as nurses.
- Why: For some very deep social and moral reasons:
- Because the ongoing wars and conflicts in Congo – which the last IRC mortality report said killed over 5.4 million Congolese between 1998 and 2008 – have left more wounds on the bodies of Congolese women than on the streets and buildings of Congo. An est. 1,100 women and young girls are raped daily in Congo, with barely any substantial international action against the culprits.
- Because – over the nearly 20 years of wars and conflicts that continue to tyrannise Congo – rape has been used as a weapon of war, meaning, to displace communities from rich mining and strategic areas, to punish women if their village is alleged to have supported the wrong side in the war, to humiliate their men into defeat and, ultimately, to destroy families, future, communities and country on an industrial scale.
- Because Congolese women – and women in general across the globe – are at a more disadvantaged than their male counterparts. They face much higher levels of financial exclusion and are likely to be marginalised. All of these issues keep many Congolese women in poverty, and contribute to the fact that 60% of the world’s poorest people are women and girls.
- Because evidence shows that when a woman generates her own income, she is likely to re-invest 90 per cent of it into her family and community. Thus why the money we will raise on #YellowSunday this year will go toward supporting, training and empowering our first 1,000 women across Congo to become Taxi drivers, enabling them to be able to work for themselves and empower them to take control and have autonomy in their society.
- Because by wearing yellow – and by encouraging others to wear something yellow – on Sunday 18.06.17 you will be spreading and increasing awareness of the wars and human tragedy that continue to tyrannise Congolese women, their country, future, family and Africa’s great lake region; and in doing so you become part of a community of campaigners across the globe who are using their rights and privileges to help advance those of Congolese women, their country, future, family and Africa’s great lake region.
Our ambition is quite big. We want to help support, train and empower 10, 000 Congolese women in 10 key sectors of Congolese society over the next 10 years; starting with 1, 000 nurses. Think of this as our attempt to help bend the arc of gender balance (especially given the scale and scope in which Congolese women have been brutalised in wars and conflicts that have tyrannised Congo) a little further toward gender justice.
With an estimated population of 77 million, Africa’s third largest after Nigeria and Ethiopia, Congo –– the former Belgian colony Joseph Mobutu renamed Zaire in 1971, Laurent Kabila baptised Congo in 1998 and the UN has labelled the worse place to be a woman –– only has 28,789 nurses; one of the lowest in the world. The situation is made worse by fighting and mass displacement that killed over 5.4 million Congolese between 1998 and 2008 and left more wounds on the bodies of Congolese women than on the streets and buildings of that country. According to statisticians, 45, 000 Congolese continue to die each month (half of them small children) due to conflicts, and preventable diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis –– making the need to improve Congo’s ability to fight treatable diseases all the more urgent.
- The health status of the Congolese people now ranks among the worst in Sub–Saharan Africa after decades of political instability and violent conflict. The DRC has been identified by WHO as a country with a critical health manpower shortage (WHO 2006).
- As UNAIDS points out, “populations fleeing complex emergencies such as armed conflicts generally face destitution and food shortages. Their situation is made worse because they often have no access to health care, either because systems have collapsed or simply do not exist in refugee hosting areas.
- There is one reference hospital for 300,000 people in urban areas and for 150,000 people in rural areas
- Malaria is highly endemic in DRC. Surveys have shown that fever is associated with 40% of child deaths and a significant proportion of mortality at all ages. This implies annual deaths of 150-250,000 under-five children due to the disease.
- The maternal mortality ratio in DRC is estimated from the 2001 MICS2 data at 1,289 per 100,000 live births. This implies over 36,000 maternal deaths annually.
- HDI Rank: 186 out of 186 in 2012 (UNDP)
The UN Global Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. By supporting, training and empowering 10, 000 Congolese women in 10 key sectors over the next 10 years, with the money we raise on #YellowSunday, our annual, one–day fundraising initiative, we are hoping, first, to help reduce inequalities Congolese women are enduring; second, to help improve gender equality by supporting and empowering 1,000 Congolese women each year in their homes, businesses and communities – and, last but not least, by helping Congolese women build their skills and expertise, their confidence and status will also grow and so will their voice.
Tell us what you are doing
Please share your thoughts and plans with us so we can build and expand this grassroots effort. We want to hear what you have planned or discussed with your friend and would love to receive your photos, messages and videos. For more, info, please get in touch with our Yellow Sunday Team on Office@SavetheCongo.org.uk to find out more about #YellowSunday!
For any information please email the Save the Congo media team on: Press@SavetheCongo.org.uk or Tweet us: @SavetheCongo; we endeavour to respond within 30 minutes.