Women PeaceMaker Profile
Sylvie Maunga Mbanga
Sylvie Maunga Mbanga, a trained lawyer, works with seven local organizations in the fight against sexual violence against women in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As coordinator of the program against sexual violence for the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) and Church in Action, as well as the program officer for the peacebuilding and conflict transformation program at the Life and Peace Institute, Mbanga also consults for other agencies and groups, providing counseling and legal services to victims of rape and sexual violence. With ICCO, she develops strategic and holistic interventions to assist victims, including the provision of psychological counseling and medical care, legal services and access to the judicial system, and economic support in the form of income-generating activities and skills building. For the Life and Peace Institute, Mbanga is also charged with implementing programs on good governance and coordinating research activities. Mbanga works as well among the ethnic conflicts within communities in the province of South Kivu. She has facilitated dialogue between the Banyamulenge community - which identifies as Rwandan rather than Congolese - and other local groups such as the Babembe and Baviro. The dialogue sessions and subsequent cultural exchanges between the groups led to the founding of an ethnically mixed organization that raises awareness about the need for further communication and tolerance. She is now attempting similar projects in North Kivu. Mbanga has also served as a radio correspondent for the French/Swahili service of Voice of America, covering local women's peacebuilding initiatives and issues of women's leadership, and is a member of Synergy for Women Victims of Sexual Violence and Action by Christians Against Torture.
Mbanga was a Woman PeaceMaker in 2008.