Boniface is a 55 year old farmer and is married with six children. He is a keen advocate for the rights of oppressed groups and is particularly frustrated by how badly women are treated. As secretary of his Village Civil Protection Committee (VCPC) he has actively tried to reach out to women in the villages but ‘it was very difficult to reach out to many as they were so
In January 2015 heavy floods forced 2,300 households into temporary shelter at Bitilinyu Evacuation Camp. Out of this crisis came the opportunity for Boniface to intensify his work to support women’s rights ‘When floods came …. I seized the opportunity to reach out to women who were being ill-treated.’ Boniface mobilised fellow VCPC members and they held meetings at the camp on women’s rights and the importance of women’s participation in decision-making.
At one meeting, three women were particularly interested and Boniface began mentoring them on human rights, advocacy and support for vulnerable groups. The women went on to set up the Camp Victim Support Unit, primarily for women and children who were considered the most vulnerable to abuse in the camp.
The female leadership in this unit encouraged women to come forward and use the facility and it has been a beacon of hope for many.