empowering survivors to become entrepreneurs

Panzi provides survivors with opportunities to thrive in emerging markets—including jobs that are traditionally male-dominated.

In doing so, we’re changing gender-norms, helping survivors profit from their new-found skills, and allowing them to regain their independence in creative, sustainable ways.

small businesses, big impact

Up to 60% of the survivors the that we treat are unable to return to their homes or villages because of the stigma associated with sexual violence. As part of our socio-economic reintegration pillar, we provide survivors with job-skills training and access to micro-finance opportunities, in order to gain the financial independence they need to rebuild their lives. And while some survivors choose more traditional fields (such as sewing, basketweaving, or soap-making) many are interested in breaking into emerging markets that often are more profitable.

We are committed to the idea that no survivor should feel limited in the options for her future. We support these survivors in helping to provide equipment, training, and start-up capital to get their ideas off the ground. Here are just a few of the exciting initiatives that we have helped survivors incubate include.

Jewelry making and value addition to the supply chain

DRC is one of the richest nations in the world due to its mineral wealth, including artisanal gold and gemstones. Panzi is helping to add value to the supply chain by training survivors as “negociants” (traders) in small-scale mining communities. The gemstones purchased are then polished and faceted by survivors in our workshop, until they are ready for sale to be incorporated into jewelry. In phase two of this project, we are working on supporting the survivors while we secure export licenses, to ensure that these gemstones can be sold in foreign markets to jewelry designers looking to incorporate ethical, survivor-sourced gemstones into designs.

powering panzi through clean energy

Violence against the Earth and violence against women are inherently linked. Armed groups profiting off the illegal exploitation of the land’s resources use rape as a weapon of war to terrorize communities and exert control over the areas where these minerals come from. Through our partnership with Google, Panzi is exploring ways to help survivors break into clean-energy fields, and solar technology in particular. In our pilot project, we are designing a program that will expand access to job-skills training in solar-related fields, such as engineering/installation, business, surveying, and more. Survivors will learn how to provide physical power to their communities, regaining their emotional and mental power in the process.

Read more about our partnership with Google here.

juice production

Many of our survivors come from rural communities where agriculture is one of the main ways people make a living. In addition to learning horticulture and sustainable farming practices, Panzi also trains some interested survivors in juice production using the fruits and vegetables that they harvest. This becomes a sustainable, closed-loop system of supporting survivors who are farmers, as the juice-producers will buy the fruit from them, and then turn it into juice which can be sold at market, supporting both their continued bottling operations and the farmers further. Panzi supports these entrepreneurs with start-up equipment, help with business plans, and transportation of goods from field-to-bottling-to market.

The Power of WomenAvailable in English, French, and Dutch

In this riveting and moving biography, Dr. Mukwege reflects on his life and the powerful women who shaped it