I am Mrs. Gasanganirwa Kanyamagana Solange, born in the province of North Kivu, in the territory of Masisi, in a village, where it is very cold, called Ngungu. During my studies, the Great Lakes region of Africa was experiencing turbulent times that would set all countries on fire. I went to Bukavu, in South Kivu, to continue my higher education. However, the eastern part of the DRC was tormented and I had to suspend my studies. I was recruited by the ICRC, thus got involved in the world of NGOs. When peace returned, I was able to return to Bukavu, continued my training in Management and obtained my degree. A few years later, I did a master's degree in business administration.
I worked for more than 5 years in my field of study, but my heart was still elsewhere. I felt confined by the routines and was drawn to the field work I had already immersed myself in. I missed the interaction with different people. Pole Institute gave me this opportunity in 2010. Since then, I have been in charge of the gender program: here I have accompanied women's groups and done research on different themes. I am part of the team that works in a regional program. In this capacity, I participated in research on resilience for reconciliation. So I am a trained manager converted into a social science researcher.
Since the advent of Covid-19, I have done some research on the impact of this pandemic on the way people live together, and on violence against women during the health emergency. In this research, I studied the effects of the Covid-19 response on the population. In the DRC, the pandemic affected people at different levels: people had to adopt a different way of life in order to survive; not shaking hands, keeping a distance of at least one foot between people, wearing a muffler, washing hands regularly; all of these are barrier gestures that are not without consequences on the perceptions of each other, as physical distancing is not part of the habits of the Congolese.
In the early days of Covid-19, domestic violence became more prevalent in some households, with total confinement being the norm. People had to deal with various social problems. For example, with the closure of schools, parents did not know how to handle children and some young girls, students suffered rape, others fell sick. Also, many households living in neighboring towns had to survive on small cross-border businesses run by women. When the borders were closed due to the pandemic, women were cut off from their supply sources in Rwanda and Uganda. They lost their assets, their jobs, and were unable to provide for the basic needs of their families.
In sum, the Covid-19 test remains inaccessible to the average citizen in the DRC and in the East in particular. I am curious to know what the members of the communities who are already suspicious about the existence of the disease think about it. What about the vaccine that has been talked about on social networks, its real or imagined, etc.?