A study into the sustainability of
Community Protection Structures
supported by Oxfam in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Summary Report

To what extent are Protection Structures still active? 4
What does being ‘active’ involve? 6
How are activities planned? 9
Perceptions of community members and local authorities 10
Perceptions of local authorities 11
Factors that have supported sustainability 12
Factors that have hindered sustainability 13
Challenges encountered by Protection Structures 13

This report summarises findings and The most commonly accepted definition PROGRAMME IN THE DRC
recommendations from field research of protection is that used by the Inter- Oxfam has implemented a community
conducted in communities where Oxfam Agency Standing Committee (IASC), which protection programme in the DRC since
previously implemented a community refers to all activities aimed at obtaining 2009, with the aim of supporting
protection programme in the Democratic full respect for the right of all individuals, communities to identify, respond to and
Republic of the Congo (DRC). without discrimination, in accordance mitigate diverse protection risks and
with the relevant bodies of law, in threats. Each community is normally
In early 2016, Oxfam carried out 198
humanitarian situations (Oxfam 2016). supported between one and three years,
interviews and Focus Group Discussions
according to the project.
(FGDs) with members of Community Populations may be put at risk in
Protection Structures (‘Protection humanitarian situations due to threats The basis of the programme is the
Structures’), wider community members, from armed actors, government establishment of Protection Structures
and local authorities in 30 communities authorities or other civilians. The state and supporting these to develop
where the programme was implemented has the legal responsibility to make sure Community Protection Plans (CPP), which
between 2009 and 2015. The duration of that the people within its borders are outline key protection threats in that
support provided to each community safe; however, when it can’t or won’t community. Protection Structures are as
varied. fully fulfil these responsibilities then follows:1
national and international humanitarian
This report provides an overview of the Community Protection Committees
organisations can assist.
community protection programme, (CPCs) six women and six men
before presenting a summary of the Community-based protection refers to Women’s Forum fifteen women, two of
research results, key findings and supporting individuals and groups within whom are members of the CPC
recommendations for Oxfam, other NGOs communities to take action to respond Change Agents ten women and ten men
using community-based approaches, to different protection threats without from surrounding villages.
and funders. using harmful coping strategies (such as
The Protection Structures receive training
forced marriage. Within the DRC,
on different protection topics, according
protection abuses are perpetrated by
to the threats identified, and on core
non-state armed groups, state actors
skills, such as advocacy, and confidential
such as the army and police, and
referral. They are supported to engage
civilians themselves. Many of these
with local administrative, civilian and
abuses are directly related to ongoing
military authorities2 on the protection
insecurity in eastern provinces, such as
threats outlined in the CPP and actions
forced labour during troop movement, or
that can be taken. This includes advocacy
pillaging of crops. Others, such as
for authorities to make particular
arbitrary arrests and illegal taxes and
commitments, such as removing illegal
barriers on roads, arise from structural barriers on roads, and a range of different
problems, compounded by years of awareness-raising actions to increase
conflict. Many, such as denial of people’s knowledge of the rights-based
women’s inheritance rights, girls’ and legal framework surrounding different
schooling, and different forms of Gender protection threats, and challenge
Based Violence (GBV), stem from discriminatory attitudes and social norms.
discriminatory attitudes and social
norms, but which may have also been The core premise underpinning the
influenced by the conflict. programme that has been developed and
tested is that:
‘Communication between community
members, and between them and local
authorities, which is informed by a
shared understanding of human rights,
can contribute to the protection of
displaced people, returnees and host
communities from violence and abuse.’3

A HISTORY OF OXFAM’S Although in some specific circumstances 3 What are the factors (internal and
PROTECTION PROGRAMME IN THE the programme has been directly external) that impeded/acted as barriers
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO implemented by Oxfam, generally Oxfam to continued activities?
has partnered with national NGOs4 that
2006–2007 Oxfam GB makes the 4 What evidence is there of longer-term
have stronger knowledge of the context
organisational decision that protection (positive and negative, expected and
and access to local communities. In many
programming would be a dedicated unexpected) changes that the
circumstances, the programme has been
focus area. programme has contributed to in the
implemented as a standalone protection
selected areas?
2008 First Protection Assessment in project, and in others it has been
North Kivu, South Kivu and Province integrated with Water and Sanitation and Between January and March 2016, Oxfam
Orientale. Hygiene (WASH), Emergency Food Security undertook qualitative field research in a
and Livelihoods (EFSL) and longer-term sample of 30 communities where the
2009 In-depth research into community livelihoods activities. programme was previously implemented.
self-protection strategies in the DRC. In total, 198 interviews and FGDs were
2009 Development of standalone SUMMARY OF THE RESEARCH held with Protection Structures, a
protection project in the DRC. sample of community members, and
The idea for this piece of research came
local civilian, administrative and military
about through internal discussions in
As of 2016 Standalone programme authorities.
2014 and 2015 between Oxfam
active in 36 communities in North and
programme staff and partner A full list of research sites, including
South Kivu and supporting a pilot of the
organisations, which raised a number of project dates, can be found in Annex A.
model as part of a global governance
questions concerning the long-term
programme in Equateur.
sustainability of the programme. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS
Given that the Protection Programme was To what extent are Protection
first implemented in some areas in 2009, Structures still active?
and the first exits from communities
Results from FGDs with Protection
started in June 2011, it was seen as both
Structure members in 30 communities
feasible and opportune to revisit
show that in nearly all cases there is
communities that had exited the
some level of activity amongst
programme and use the research findings
Protection Structures; however, this
to re-design the programme approach
varies both between communities and
where needed.
amongst structures in the same
The research was framed in terms of what community.
Wessels (2009) defined as ‘process’ and
Across communities, most often a
‘outcome’ sustainability. Process
proportion of members of each
sustainability considers the extent to
Protection Structure are considered as
which Protection Structures are still
still participating in activities, whether
active, while outcome sustainability
through regular meetings and group
examines the longer-term changes that
activities, or individually. In Burungu,
the programme has contributed to. ‘Being
Masisi, for example, the CPC members
active’ was defined by the Protection
stated that eight members (out of the
Structures themselves, rather than
original 12) participate in meetings held
Oxfam, according to what they viewed as
on Friday every other week, but only five
continuing activities.
people (one woman and four men, out of
Specific research questions were an original 12 members) participate
defined as follows: regularly because the others are often
travelling. In Sorodo, Irumu, Change
1 What evidence is there of continuing
Agents estimated that out of an original
activities by Community Protection
24 members (two per neighbourhood), 11
Structures after the initial project?
are now active.
2 What are the (internal and external5)
factors that supported continued

In some communities, it was clear that Across all sites there is relatively little ‘We’re all active here,
nearly all members were still active, regular or planned interaction between
often through each individual personally the different Protection Structures, and except for one member
confirming this during the FGD. This was they tend to operate as distinct who is ill and doesn’t
often the case in South Lubero, where structures.
meetings are planned and each
meet us regularly. We all
In Gety, Irumu, for example, although the
individual must explain and are held
CPC noted that ‘it’s us who sleeps’ (that
arrive at meetings, and if
accountable for why they are unable to
the CPC is inactive/dormant), they someone is prevented
attend or carry out an activity.
described how the Change Agents still from attending they
In Dungu, being an active member lead a large number of activities. In
was conceived slightly differently for Burungu, Rugarama and Kitchanga, the always tell us the reason
members of Women’s Associations6 who Women’s Forum was significantly more for their absence and
were supported as part of a protection active than the CPC and Change Agents.7
project with partner Conscience. The results show that while one
present themselves at
They defined themselves as being an Protection Structure in a community may the next meeting’
active member of the association be particularly active, this does not Member of Women’s
itself, and the protection activities, necessarily relate to the level of activity
when mentioned, were not separated of other Protection Structures in the Forum, Kikovu, South
from this. same community. Lubero

The exception appears to be in South What does being ‘active’ are identified and trained as Focal
Lubero where, in a number of involve? Points. This approach was developed so
communities, it appears that there are that individuals needing information
regular meetings between structures. a) Referral to support services would find it easier to identify from
And in Kitsumbiro, for example, the In nearly all cases, individual Protection whom to access this. During the FGDs,
Presidents of each of the Protection Structure members confirmed that they however, no distinction was made
Structures sat down together at the end continued to refer individuals to between the Focal Points and other
of the project to plan how they would different available support services Protection Structure members, and it
take forward their activities. This may when required. Even in cases where the appears that all individual members
have been further supported by ongoing Protection Structures did not appear to carry out referral.
support visits (every six months) from carry out any group activities, or faced
Although a large proportion of cases
CEPROSSAN Animators.8 de-motivation and challenges, FGD
appear to involve sexual violence,
participants affirmed that they
In other communities in Irumu, such as referral is framed in terms of providing
continued to refer cases when they were
Soke, CPC members note that they are both male and female individuals with
made aware of them. This includes
still active and retain the identity of the the information they need on locally
members of Women’s Associations and
CPC, but don’t hold group meetings any available services in different situations.
Relais Communautaire (community
longer. Instead they use the Conseil des The research revealed that this holds
health workers) in Dungu, who were
Acteurs de Developpment (Development true, and that Protection Structures
trained on referral.
Advisory Group) meetings, which many provide information to individuals in
CPC members belong to, to advance their During the programme, individual different circumstances. This includes
protection objectives. members of the Protection Structures advice on whether a case is civil or

penal, and which authority should deal Often, it appears that the distinction ‘I have a friend and his
with it, and providing support to women between protection monitoring (the
in various situations, such as during identification of incidents), awareness son married at the age
pregnancy or childbirth. raising, advocacy and mediation of 15. When I went to
becomes blurred for individual members.
In a number of FGDs, follow-up of
This appeared particularly to be the case see him I discussed
individual cases was also mentioned.
The programme discourages follow-up
in Rubaya and Masisi, where Protection SOPROP (partner
Structure members not only carried out
to avoid Protection Structure members
awareness-raising activities on early
organisation) with him,
becoming too involved in the
management of a case for which they
and forced marriage, but also monitored we went to see the
are not trained. A review of this in 20129
and intervened in cases when they authorities and called
heard it took place.
found that, in many cases, individuals the parents of the girl,
become involved, for example, by
accompanying someone to a Health
c) Awareness raising and the authorities
Aside from referral, awareness raising or
Centre, or checking on them afterwards,
‘sensibilisation’ was mentioned by shared the law and
either because they are asked to, or
because they naturally want to be able
nearly all Protection Structures as an advised the parents to
ongoing activity. This was the case even
to help them. The research found that
where no group activities were
separate the children so
this continued to be the case.
organised, as individuals appeared to do that they continue to
b) Mediation
this either as a regular activity or when study, and when they
they saw a need, such as when the
Although the role of Protection Structures
security situation changed or when are 18 or 20 they can
is not conceived as one of mediation, and
the members are not trained on this, the
particular protection incidents took marry. The parents
research revealed a number of agreed.”
communities, particularly in Haut Uele The FGD results revealed a large range of
and Irumu, where Protection Structures awareness-raising activities that the
Male Change Agent,
described the role they play in mediation Protection Structures continue to Rubaya, Masisi
of individual cases of conflict. undertake, on a large variety of
protection topics. These range from birth
In some cases it appears that Protection
and marriage registration, early and
Structure members may have become
forced marriage, girls’ schooling,
involved in trying to calm or improve
women’s inheritance and child labour in
certain conflicts. This, then, quickly
areas that are more stable, such as
became more of a routine activity, with
Rubaya and Bihambwe, and arbitrary
people coming to them for help. In other
arrests and forced work in areas with a
cases, it appears they reacted to a
high military presence, such as South
situation that they came across where
Lubero, to sexual violence, the
they felt they had to intervene (for
importance of not joining armed groups,
example in the case of a pregnant girl
and self-protection strategies in areas
being thrown out of home, where they
with a changing security situation
persuaded her family to take her back).
(Irumu, Haut Uele and Kitchanga).
Mediation was not just limited to the
The location of awareness raising
community as a whole; in some cases it
reported during the FGDs varies, and
was used to deal with conflict within
Protection Structures take advantage of
households between couples. Some
different daily spaces and activities to
Protection Structures in Irumu and Haut
discuss protection messages, such as in
Uele, and to a lesser extent in South
the fields, at school, door to door, at the
Lubero, the Protection Structures
market, in different churches or even in
seemed to conceive of their role in terms
parents’ assemblies in schools.
of reconciling couples and appeared to
continue with mediation on a frequent

‘We carry on awareness d) Engagement with local authorities above the head of individual authorities
they had previously approached by
The FGD results suggest that in a large
raising activities...we are proportion of communities, engagement speaking with their commanders.
missing paper, pens, but with local authorities continues.
e) Protection Monitoring
However this is mainly through specific
we continue with our advocacy actions, when a problem is
Protection monitoring involves the
mouths and identified, rather than at regular
collection of information on protection
incidents, trend monitoring and
megaphones. We each meetings with local authorities such as
through Reunions Mixtes.11
contribute one hundred Although the use of mobile phones to
In communities where the Protection alert partners of incidents did not
Congolese francs per Structures hold weekly or monthly continue, apart from certain
month for batteries.’ planning meetings, it appears that communities in South Lubero that
CEPROSSAN is still in contact with,
Women’s Forum member, advocacy actions are often planned or
protection monitoring carried out by
discussed and Protection Structures
Rugarmu, Masisi plan which authorities to contact for individual Protection Structure members
which advocacy action. The advocacy appears to have continued in a majority
actions are normally carried out in of communities.
groups, whether through the Advocacy The identification of protection incidents
Focal Points or by groups of two to three is closely tied to both advocacy and
members who they feel are best placed for awareness-raising actions undertaken.
the task. In addition to this planned The research revealed that this may
advocacy, Protection Structures described involve, for example, Protection
individual advocacy actions that they have Structures undertaking immediate
taken based upon situations they advocacy on an identified incident, or
encounter during daily activities, such as asking members to describe protection
attempted extortion of IDPs. incidents they had noted in their
neighbourhood during weekly or monthly
These ongoing advocacy actions
meetings and planning advocacy and
frequently involve advocacy and
awareness-raising actions based upon
mediation of cases where an individual is
the trends observed. However, a
arbitrarily arrested, for example on behalf common challenge raised by Protection
of a relative who has been accused of a Structures was that they ‘no longer had
crime, because they owe a debt, or anyone to send their reports to’, and
without real motive, so the Police or confusion over what to do with some of
military can extort money for their the information collected.
release. Although during the programme
Protection Structures are discouraged f) Community development activities
from becoming involved in individual In four FGDs, additional activities were
cases, across all research sites mentioned by Protection Structures
advocacy on arbitrary arrests appears to which were not planned or supported as
be a key activity that continues. part of the original project but which
could be described as broader
In several cases Protection Structures also community development activities. For
participate regularly in the Réunion de example, in Gety, Irumu, the Women’s
Sécurité. These are regular, often weekly, Forum visits the prison and sometimes
meetings organised by local authorities, brings the prisoners food or items of
bringing together the FARDC, ANR, PNC, clothing. In Ozoba, the CPC described
and administrative and customary that they have created a ‘construction
authorities to speak about the security group’ to help repair the roofs of houses
situation in the area. Protection Structures and a Comite d’Aide for the village, which
in Rubaya described how they use the supports community members who are
meeting to speak about cases that have in mourning or ill, emphasising the value
not yet been resolved, effectively going of this group.13

g) Income Generation Activities How are activities planned?
As part of certain protection projects Fifty-one Protection Structures in 23
Protection Structure members were also communities state that they continue to
supported with Income Generation hold weekly and/or monthly meetings,
Activities (IGAs), whether as part of with several other Protection Structures
parallel Oxfam livelihoods programmes, holding ‘ad-hoc’ meetings according to
or with the specific purpose of need. When meetings are held, they
supporting the continuation of tend to be on the same day or date - for
protection activities. In several example on Sundays after Church. As
communities, Protection Structures also mentioned in previous sections, during
developed IGAs themselves.14 these meetings, according to the
Protection Structure, members often
The research found several examples
share updates of the protection
where, since project closure, Protection situation in their neighbourhood, choose
Structure members decided to each themes for awareness-raising activities,
contribute a small amount of money or and plan activities for the week or the
materials in-kind (e.g. batteries) on a month ahead. For some Protection
regular basis, in order to cover basic Structures this also includes reviewing
materials. what has worked well and what hasn’t,
In some areas, it appears that IGAs and taking this into account in their
supported during the programme
continue to function. For example, after
the end of Oxfam’s project in Dungu, ‘One day I encountered people who had been
SAIPED continued work in several
communities where the protection
displaced coming from Mbwavinywa stopped in the
programme had been implemented with road at an illegal barrier by a military officer because
funding from Conciliation Resources. they didn’t have identity cards...I showed the military
This used the same model with the
addition of agricultural activities to
officer that it’s difficult for a displaced person who
support the sustainability of CPCs, which flees without anything to remember where he left his
the Protection Structures still refer to as identity card. We had a long discussion, but finally he
ongoing. In South Lubero, partner
CEPROSSAN described how a goat- understood and they were liberated. I didn’t stop
rearing business that the Protection there, I informed my colleagues and we went to see
Structures run is still ongoing, and they
think that this contributes towards the
the FARDC Commander to speak to him about this
fact that the Protection Structures case. He gave orders to his unit to remove the barrier,
continue to meet.15 and today the population passes by here without any
In other areas, however, the IGAs failed harassment.’
for different reasons. In Sorodo, Irumu,
fields were assigned for cultivation by
Male Change Agent, Mighobwe, South Lubero
CPCs to support their costs; however,
according to the programme
coordinator16 in 2013, during armed-
group attacks there was widespread
displacement and all of the IGAs failed.
In Burungu and Rugarumu, Masisi,
collective fields supported as part of a
joint livelihoods and protection project
were mentioned but this year there was
no potato harvest due to rainfall levels.

Following the meetings, some Protection around different neighbouring villages, Perceptions of community
Structures appear to organise and in many projects their role was members and local authorities
awareness raising and advocacy on the organised in terms of engagement with
Knowledge of Protection Structures was
same days each week. For example, the the CPC on protection issues, rather
relatively high amongst community
Women’s Forum in Bihmabwe, Masisi, than acting as a group in themselves. In
members interviewed across all
carries out awareness raising at the general collaboration and regular
communities. Often, a direct link was
market each Wednesday, whilst for meetings between different Protection
made between perceptions of the
others it depends on the planning Structures is limited and they tend to
positive role the Protection Structures
decided upon in the meeting, and operate as individual, separate groups.
have played, and the benefits the
whether the awareness raising is Where collaboration does exist, each
programme has brought to the
individual, or in larger groups. Protection Structure tends to meet
community. There were several reports
weekly, and there may be a monthly CPC
From the field research, of the of negative feedback on the Protection
meeting, which representatives of the
Protection Structures who meet Structures but this mostly appears to be
Women’s Forum and/or Change Agents
regularly, 21 are Women’s Forums, 20 in cases where there was resistance
attend.17 Alternatively, the Protection
are CPCs and there are 10 groups of against the awareness-raising
Structures meet and carry out activities
Change Agents. It is perhaps not messages.
together ‘according to need’ (for
surprising that fewer Change Agents
example to collaborate on specific
meet, given that they are often spread
awareness raising or advocacy actions).

When asked about what the role and Frequent mention was made to the ‘The project was finished,
responsibilities of the Protection population’s previous ‘ignorance of the
Structures were, most FGD participants law’ and the value that the authorities but the work isn’t
said raising awareness and advocating saw in making sure that the population finished. We decided to
for and protecting the community. could adhere to the law, which reflected,
Advocacy was often understood and to a certain extent, the attitude that the
continue because there
explained in terms of carrying out population ‘needs to be taught’. are still some people who
follow-up on individual cases of apparent
Less frequently recognised was the value don’t yet know their
arbitrary arrest. However, reference was
also made in a few cases to the fact that
authorities placed on the training rights.’
sessions that they participated in. In
an individual can bring a problem to them, Rubaya, for example, the Secretary to the Women’s Forum member,
and they will then provide advocacy
support. In some cases, direct reference
Governor showed the book containing South Lubero
legal texts that had been left by the
was made to how they were recognised in project. He explained how he refers to the
the community, for example in reference different laws related to different cases,
to ‘being leaders’. and a poster on the wall explaining
In cases where an individual encounters procedures for arrest.
a problem, such as protection abuse, In two communities, authorities
community members usually seek participated in the programme in two
support from local leaders, such as the different communities. In both cases it
Chef de Village, Chef de Localité, or even appears that their previous engagement
religious leaders. The Protection with the programme facilitated their work
Structures were, however, also with the Protection Structures in the new
mentioned a number of times, either in community, as they were aware of and
reference to individuals seeking the supported their role, and had already
Protection Structures to carry out participated in training on the different
advocacy on their behalf, or to refer them protection topics.
to the appropriate authority.
The extent to which Protection Structures
Perceptions of local authorities collaborate and engage with different
Approximately half of the authorities authorities appears to vary from village to
interviewed knew about the Protection village. In some communities,
Structures. When authorities did know collaboration with administrative
about the Protection Structures, there authorities, such as the Chef de Localité,
was the general recognition that in most appears strong, while there is limited
cases they ‘had weakened’ since the end engagement with authorities such as the
of the project, which may reflect the fact ANR and FARDC. In others, such as
that awareness raising had become less Kitchanga in Masisi, engagement with the
visible, and Reunion Mixtes had stopped. administrative authorities appears
limited, with advocacy directed much
Knowledge was much higher amongst
more to the PNC. This probably depends
administrative authorities, such as the
upon the nature of the protection threats
Chef de Chefferie, Chef de Groupement,
and Chef de Localite, where rotation in the different areas (and associated
amongst communities is less frequent. In different targets), the personalities of the
retrospect, impressions of the overall authorities and the dynamics of each
programme were very positive, with FGD relationship, including between different
and interview participants noting the authorities themselves.
importance of the project in improving
knowledge of the law amongst the
population, and increasing collaboration.

Factors that have supported Lack
u of displacement Factors that have hindered
sustainability In communities where Protection sustainability
Structures seem to be particularly
The research reveals a number of key This section presents findings
active, the majority of individual
factors, both internal and external to the concerning:
members appear to remain the same,
programme, which have impacted upon • factors that made individual members
experiencing low levels of displacement
both process and outcome sustainability stop participating in programme
or moving for other reasons, such as
in research communities. These are activities after project closure
outlined as follows: • challenges that were raised by members
u to basic materials and have impacted on their work,
Although access to basic materials18 without necessarily stopping
All participants expressed strong
doesn’t appear to affect whether participation.
motivation for participating in the
members are active or not, it does
protection activities and this is the key Through the field research, it was not
impact on both the activities they are
reason that they remain active. Nearly all possible to directly contact individuals
able to carry out, and the effectiveness
FGD participants reported joining who had stopped participating in
of these activities. For example,
because they were aware of the Protection Structure activities. Members
awareness raising may become
different problems and abuses in their who attended the FGDs, however, shared
individual, rather than targeting groups.
community, and wanted to help in some their perceptions of why individuals had
way. Members reported deciding to Length
u of time supported stopped.
continue for several key reasons: In communities in South Lubero that
Across all areas a small proportion of
a) feeling that they needed to share the have received between three and five
members stopped participating due to
knowledge gained from the training years of support, programme outcomes
lack of compensation, or financial
sessions; appear to be more deeply embedded,
incentive, for their work. Often,
b) noting that there was an ongoing including knowledge of the Protection
remaining Protection Structure members
need and ‘the protection abuses hadn’t Structures, the level of advocacy, and
were quite dismissive of this, saying that
finished’; wider changes in attitude and
those who left weren’t motivated by
c) having seen that change is possible behaviour.19
voluntary work, or didn’t understand the
through their activities; Ongoing
u accompaniment voluntary nature of the activities.
d) wanting to make sure the situation The Protection Structures appear Similarly, general de-motivation was
improved, and didn’t go back to how it stronger, more motivated, and their mentioned as a reason that certain
was before. activities more effective in areas where individuals had stopped participating.
In a handful of cases, IGAs were there has been some ongoing support This was often framed in terms of
mentioned. The income generation after project closure. This is the case in individuals ‘becoming discouraged’, with
component however was rarely seven communities in South Lubero,20 there being too many challenges.
mentioned as a motivation in itself. where monitoring visits to communities
A minority of individuals in different
every six months after exiting were
u of a clear planning areas stopped for a range of practical
integrated into subsequent projects.
schedule reasons. These included displacement,
The communities in which Protection or moving to a different area for study,
Structures are most active appear to be death or illness, or other time
those in which a clear, planned schedule commitments (e.g. someone was a Head
of activities was established at the end Teacher, and another individual was a
of the project. journalist).
u of regular dialogue In several communities, it appears that
with the authorities individuals stopped due to fear or
The establishment of regular dialogue reprisals, either directly from individual
with the authorities, for example through authorities, as they were seen as
participation in Réunion de Sécurité, threatening their income source
does not appear to significantly impact (through arguing against illegal taxes
upon the motivation of the Protection and arbitrary arrests), or from
Structures to continue but appears to perpetrators released back into the
have an impact upon the effectiveness community who come looking for them.
of their ongoing activities.

During the FGDs, Protection Structures Intimidation
u by authorities and fear Perpetrators are commonly released
also raised a number of challenges they of reprisals back into the community after arrest,
have encountered in their activities, Reports of intimidation from local due to impunity within the justice
outlined below. Although these may authorities were common and ranged system. Protection Structures also
have impacted upon their work, to from statements that ‘the authorities reported how this impunity contributed
varying degrees, they were not framed in hate us’23 as the Protection Structures to the large number of ongoing cases of
terms of stopping the Protection threatened their income source (e.g. forced marriage in communities.24
Structures from continuing activities. through trying to prevent extortion from
barriers or arbitrary arrest), to reports of Lack
u of ‘incentives’ to give
Challenges encountered by hostility in the presence of the authorities
In several cases in Masisi, the Protection
Protection Structures Protection Structures.
Structures mentioned that their advocacy
u of authorities Impunity
u of perpetrators had been challenged as they had ‘no
Nearly all Protection Structures In addition to verbal threats received incentive to give to authorities’, meaning
mentioned the rotation of authorities as a from authorities during advocacy, a large in Burungu, for example, that they had to
key challenge.21 New authorities did not number of Protection Structures stop holding the monthly Reunion Mixtes
know about the Protection Structures and reported fear of reprisals from after the end of the project.
treated them with suspicion (or as if they perpetrators of abuses, either because
were ‘a nuisance’). New authorities the authorities or others in the Security situation In several communities
frequently had not been trained on community identified the Protection in Irumu, South Lubero and Mweso,
protection and had a weak knowledge of Structures as having reported them to changes in the security situation
the law, and lack of legal text,22 which the police, or because the authorities impacted upon the activities that
made collaboration with them difficult. will use them to seek revenge. Protection Structures were able to

undertake – for example in Irumu combat Lack of ‘means’
u Lack
u of rain coats and rain boots
between the FRPI armed group and the Frequently a ‘lack of means’ was cited Very few Protection Structures appear to
FARDC in 2014 lead the FARDC to forbid by Protection Structure members. In have received rain coats or boots, which
community meetings. This meant that the some cases, the challenge was makes travel to meetings and awareness
Protection Structures had to stop group described as not having a financial raising difficult in the rainy season.
activities. motivation. In several cases, members
u of PEP kits25
described how they continued working
u of transport for survivors of The research revealed that when the PEP
on protection activities, but that they
abuses kits are not re-stocked following
sometimes had to choose between
As part of several protection projects, advocacy by partner organisations, such
protection and income-generating
money or support through bicycles for as ACPD in Niangara, then it discourages
transport were provided to survivors of survivors of violence from seeking any
violence to reach the closest health Lack of leadership
u help.
centre. In Niangara, Dungu, the bicycles In six communities, the death or inactivity
u with other groups
are still in use, but in Irumu, IGAs had of the President of a Protection Structure
In one community, there is another
been used to provide the money for impacted significantly upon the
group that calls itself ‘human rights
transport fees. As these IGAs have failed, functioning of the group, and at times the
defenders’ and it charges community
the Protection Structures are no longer other structures, and their responsibilities
members for their advocacy ‘services’.
able to support this transport. such as calling meetings, were not taken
This has impacted upon the Protection
up by another member. Lack of meetings
u of a meeting space Structures as they are confused by both
In a number of communities, such as
In Kitchanga and Burungu in Masisi the community members and local
Soke, Gety and Sorodo in Irumu, it
lack of a meeting space appeared to authorities with this other group.
appears that meetings between the
negatively impact on the Protection
Protection Structures in each community
Structures to hold meetings; they meet
have stopped. Since the Change Agents
were conceived of a means to support
u of material support for coverage of the wider geographical area,
advocacy and awareness-raising with support in coordination and
(eg legal texts) advocacy from the CPC, this appears to
In many cases, legal texts provided are have impacted upon the effectiveness
worn or destroyed, as they were just of the Change Agents’ own activities.
produced in paper form. In other cases
u in membership
the texts were only produced in French,
In Rubaya and Bihambwe, General
making it difficult to understand for the
Assemblies were held at the end of the
majority of members. Delays in
project to re-elect and replace inactive
procurement during the project meant
members. New members did not receive
that, in some cases, the Protection
any training or support, which has
Structures did not have access to these
impacted upon the contribution they are
legal texts during the majority of project
able to make to activities.
activities, which meant that they
couldn’t refer to different texts during Challenges
u encountered during
meetings with local authorities. awareness raising
Across all communities different
u of accompaniment and
challenges related to awareness-raising
activities were mentioned, most often
The lack of accompaniment from an
concerning resistance encountered
Animator was mentioned quite
when trying to change people’s
frequently, often framed in terms of ‘not
behaviour, particularly related to
having anyone to send reports to’, and
women’s and children’s rights. Members
missing the encouragement the
did not appear too discouraged,
Animator would provide.
accepting this resistance as part of the

DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS Even when meetings of the Protection • wanting to make sure the situation
Structures stop for different reasons, improved, and didn’t go back to how it
Finding one A large proportion of the majority of members continue to was before.
Protection Structure members in the carry out individual activities. It appears
majority of communities continue with In a large number of cases, individuals
that nearly all FGD participants, for
activities in some form reported that they ‘couldn’t stop’, often
example, continue to be active in
because the project had ‘opened their
In nearly all communities where the intervening and referring individuals to
eyes.’ This motivation appears to emerge
research was conducted, there was services when required, with a slightly
very rapidly, and be closely tied to the
some level of activity reported amongst lower proportion working on advocacy
training received. Even after receiving
Protection Structures. However, the level on a needs basis in smaller groups.
only three months of support, Protection
varies amongst:
The nature of the Protection Structure Structures in Rubaya and Bihambwe
• communities in the same geographical activities may shift over time. As mirrored similar sentiments and
area that have participated in the same materials such as megaphones become appeared to be active, although the
project but may have been differently broken, awareness-raising activities outcomes of the project in these areas
affected by other factors such as the may move from ‘mass’ awareness raising may be less ingrained.
departure of a Protection Structure to individual or small-group
This motivation however is not sufficient
President (e.g. the CPC Presidents in conversations, such as in Rubaya,
to sustain the participation of all
Ozoba and Gety, Irumu). Masisi. When no group meetings are held
members, and does not necessarily
• Protection Structures within the same to plan awareness raising, and the
impact upon the nature of activities
community. In most cases, the CPCs, Protection Structures are not active as
undertaken, such as the continuity of
Women’s Forum and Change Agents groups, this may shift again to individuals
group meetings. In a number of
seem to operate as distinct structures, responding to a changing security
Protection Structures, a proportion of
and the fact that one Protection environment by sharing information on
individual members became inactive for
Structure in a community may be the importance of moving away from
reasons such as displacement or time
particularly active does not necessarily insecure areas early, or informing the
commitments, and lack of financial
relate to the level of activity of other authorities of different problems.
incentive from the project (e.g. transport
Protection Structures in the same
fees paid to attend training sessions).
community. This includes communities Finding two Members feel motivated by
Given the difficult nature of the work,
such as Gety and Irumu, where the CPC protection activities very quickly. For
they did not continue. In
appears to be less active and has the majority of members, this motivation
neighbourhoods in Dungu, where the
reduced or stopped meetings, but the to help others keeps them active
programme trained representatives from
Change Agents continue with a large Although motivation to join the
Women’s Associations and Community
number of activities. In some cases, Protection Structures and to continue
Health Workers, although some
however, where, during the project participating after project support is
representatives continued with referral
period, the role of the Women’s Forum finished is very personal, the results
activities, evidence of the same
and Change Agents were conceived as show that active members were strongly
motivation as Protection Structures in
requiring support from the CPC for motivated to help their community. This
other areas was limited, and individuals
advocacy, or was defined in sending was often framed in terms of ‘advocating
spoke in terms of their role as Women’s
information to the CPC for action, a for’ or ‘defending’ the population, with
Associations or community health
reduction in the level of activity of the members of the Women’s Forum in
workers, rather than in terms of
CPC has had some negative impact upon particular motivated to support other protection.
the Women’s Forum and Change Agents. women, after having seen their suffering.
Motivation to continue activities after
In the majority of communities, a
proportion of members of each project closure, although linked to this,
Protection Structure are considered as also evolved to individuals:
still participating in activities, whether • feeling that they needed to share the
regular meetings and group activities (51 knowledge gained from the training
Protection Structures in 21 communities) sessions;
or individually, ranging from as few as • noting that there was an ongoing need
three members in, for example, Kaseghe, and ‘the protection abuses hadn’t
South Lubero,26 to communities where finished’;
all members report that they are still • having seen that change is possible
active. through their activities;

Finding three The most ‘active’ a space for reflection. There is potential result, meetings lessened or stopped.
Protection Structures are those that to strengthen support given to Including simple scenario planning in the
have established a regular pattern of Protection Structures during the project project’s exit planning may help to
activities over a longer period period to increase the effectiveness of mitigate risks such as these.
The most-active Protection Structures this planning, and increase the
likelihood that it will continue after the Other factors, such as a change in the
are those in which a regular planning
project closes if the Protection security situation (e.g. in Irumu, where
and meeting schedule was established
Structures wish to continue their community members were no longer
during and at the end of the project in
activities. permitted to meet in groups by the
order to: monitor changes in the
FARDC) or displacement had a significant
situation in different areas; plan Second to this, a lack of or change in the
awareness raising and advocacy impact, but are harder to mitigate. In
leadership of Protection Structures
activities accordingly; and evaluate the such situations, it is important to
appears to have the potential to
success of these activities. Amongst recognise that individual Protection
significantly affect the type and level of
different Protection Structures, which organisation of the structures and Structure members can play an
continue to hold regular meetings, how remaining members. It does not appear important role, for example through
the time was used, and how activities in cases where the Presidents left or supporting confidential referral and
were planned, varied from simply giving became less active that there was any self-protection strategies, even if group
reports to using the meetings as more of contingency plan in place and, as a activities do not continue.

Finding four What makes the Irumu. In other cases the IGAs are no There are several cases where
programme sustainable in the long term longer functional, including the failure of Protection Structures have set up a
is closely tied to what makes the the potato harvest in one community in system where each member contributes
programme of good quality and effective Masisi due to the lack of rainfall. a small amount, such as 100FC, on a
in the short term regular basis, to cover basic costs. For
In Irumu, where IGAs appear to function,
example in Ozoba, the Protection
This includes ensuring that Protection the money can provide a useful means to
Structures themselves started a
Structure members: support victims of abuse to ensure that
revolving savings fund, where each
they access services in time. In Dungu,
• have a good knowledge base on a range member regularly saves a small amount
the collective fields have become a
of different protection topics (which may and they take turns to use the group’s
meeting place but the focus of the
take several years of project support to savings. In a context where an
Protection Structures seems to have
cover27) individual’s income generation is often
shifted from protection activities to
• are confident in non-confrontational on a day-by-day basis, and where, as
cultivation of the collective fields, a view
engagement with authorities one Protection Structure member noted
supported by community members and
• establish a regular pattern of planning in Rubaya, sometimes he has to choose
local authorities.
between protection activities and
and activities following conducting a
There is no evidence in any case that looking for a means to buy food,
IGAs are required in order to give providing Protection Structures with
• plan creative, awareness-raising
Protection Structures an incentive to support via a simple revolving savings
activities that focus on positive
continue meeting, or continuing with scheme may be a realistic approach.
engagement rather than denunciation.28
With a strong programme in place that Finding seven Cooperation between the
supports the Protection Structures over FINDING SIX Some support for other Protection Structures could be
a number of years, it appears that most initiatives related to income generation, reinforced
Protection Structures are motivated such as member contributions or Regular engagement between the
enough to continue activities revolving savings schemes, may be different Protection Structures in each
required in the long term community is limited across all areas,
independently in the long term, if they
decide to do so. Some basic material Although it doesn’t appear that IGAs are with some specific exceptions. In
support, such as money for transport for required as an incentive for members to communities where Protection
awareness raising, paper, pens and continue activities, some IGA support Structures have chosen to continue
batteries, may help strengthen the reach may be required in the long term to cover after project closure, this may impact
and quality of activities. Similarly, basic material needs if the Protection upon the effectiveness of the activities,
occasional support visits from the Structures wish to continue with as awareness raising and advocacy is
implementing partner after project activities. Actions can be taken during not coordinated, and the different
closure may increase the effectiveness the project to minimise the need for Protection Structures are not supporting
longer-term financial support for each other to address the different
of activities by identifying actions that
material requirements – for example by challenges they face, or learn from each
require advocacy support at a higher
providing rain jackets and boots, and by other’s lessons. Simple strategies during
level, and by playing a problem-solving
increasing training on awareness-raising the project period may help to increase
role, increasing the motivation of
techniques, such as through drama, that this cooperation, including:
individual members in the face of
don’t require the purchase of materials
challenging work. • mixing members from the different
such as batteries for megaphones. Basic
structures in training sessions;
Finding five There is no evidence that materials will always be needed,
• reinforcing a regular pattern of meetings
support with Income Generating however, including pen and paper for
between the Structures with a clear
Activities means that Protection recording awareness raising actions.
agenda and supporting individual
Structures are more likely to continue Although this may not be a requirement
members to lead these meetings;
for reporting to Oxfam, observations from
with activities • supporting coordination between
Rubaya suggest that the fact this is
In a number of areas, the IGAs that had representatives of each Protection
recorded and members sign this may be
been established and supported under Structure.29
a motivating factor. Other needs may
the programme did continue to function. include a small amount of phone credit A balance will need to be struck to
This includes collective fields that to contact the implementing partner or a ensure that it is not seen as overly
SAIPED supported Protection Structures supportive local authority in case of a prescriptive, or imposing too heavy a
to cultivate in Dungu, and some IGAs in protection alert or request for advice. structure of meetings.

Finding eight Regular engagement with In communities supported by SAIPED in These include:
authorities could be reinforced Dungu, however, it appears that the role
• routinely budgeting for and providing
Regular meetings with local authorities of Protection Structures was framed in
rain coats and boots;
decreased across even very active terms of mediating between couples and
• giving a printed copy of the module
Protection Structures. In some cases ‘resolving small disputes’ in the
summaries to all Protection Structures
this appears to be because the household at some point in the project.
whilst waiting for the plastic copies to
Protection Structures were not able to This has had the potentially harmful
be produced;
provide monetary incentives for consequence that Protection Structure
• placing an increased emphasis on
authorities to attend monthly meetings members try to directly resolve cases of
training and awareness-raising
(such as the transport money provided domestic violence and intra-marital
methods, such as drama, or the
during the project), and others because problems, putting both themselves and
provision of simple support tools, such
of the rotation of authorities, and the others at risk.
as the protection playing cards, which
challenges that Protection Structures This is an area where Oxfam could revise can be left with the Protection
face in facilitating monthly meetings its training materials, to ensure that Structures.
with new authorities themselves. In clear messaging and support is provided
some communities, engagement did Rotation of authorities will continue to
to Animators when carrying out training
continue, but often in the form of be a challenge. Advocating with local
on the topic of Gender Based Violence to
individual meetings to address specific authorities to provide the Protection
make sure that Protection Structures
protection threats or cases, or Structures with some form of recognised
don’t understand this as their role. In
participation in the Réunion de Sécurité. identification31 may help in cases where
other areas, however, additional
new authorities refuse to engage with
During the project there is potential to emphasis could be placed on conflict
the Structures through lack of
place increased emphasis on coaching sensitivity and mitigation training, 30
awareness. In order to address the issue
for the different Protection Structure focusing on risk analysis and role-plays
of new authorities arriving who don’t
members (and not only advocacy focal to coach the Protection Structures in
have knowledge of the law, and who
points) on facilitating these meetings, how they can react in different individual
haven’t been trained on protection, a
and supporting these meetings to be cases, setting appropriate boundaries.
combination of different approaches is
held monthly, rather than every two or Across all areas there is the ongoing possible:
three months, to establish a strong challenge that Protection Structures
meeting pattern. As part of exit planning, • request that PNC and FARDC
intervene in cases of apparent arbitrary
a meeting could also be held with local Commanders leave a simple, written
arrest, which could also place members
authorities and the Protection handover stating that they have worked
at risk. Despite emphasising the need to
Structures to discuss and decide upon with the Protection Structures and
raise this as a general issue during
how they would like to continue their requesting their successor to continue
monthly meetings with local authorities
engagement and meetings. this support. Protection Structures could
during the project period (rather than
also be encouraged to keep records of
specific cases), it is unlikely that
Finding nine It seems inevitable that their agreements so that new local
Protection Structures become involved Protection Structures will stop this
authorities can see what progress has
to some extent in some individual cases involvement. Given that the question of
been made.
arbitrary arrest is also linked to monetary
This has been a topic of discussion for • inform authorities at a higher level that
incentives and the lack of regular pay for
the protection programme for a period summary modules have been
the Police and Army, a revised approach
of time. The research results suggest distributed, leaving additional copies so
may be required (see finding ten).
that individuals will inevitably approach that they can ensure new authorities
Protection Structure members to some Finding ten Whilst some challenges receive copies,32 or providing one copy
extent in order to ask them for which Protection Structures raised can to an individual authority and one copy
information or advice on particular be addressed within the project, others for the office.
cases, or to accompany them to require more creative approaches • engage with the authorities at the level
services, and Protection Structures of the commissariat and sous-
A number of the challenges that
may feel obliged to (e.g. to accompany commissariat (between the local and
Protection Structures raised, which
a survivor of violence to the health territorial level). This could include
impact upon their motivation and the
centre, or to intervene in a case of inviting these representatives to local
effectiveness of their activities, can be
early marriage). authority training sessions, creating a
addressed during the project period.
committee across these different

authorities and supporting them to and Army and accepted levels of holding territorial round tables with
identify and undertake actions to share corruption. In terms of impunity, this territorial authorities. In addition to
protection messages with their units, includes weak functioning of the justice using this as a space to advocate for
particularly upon arrival of new local system at different levels, widespread territorial support in addressing specific
Commanders. gender discrimination, corruption of protection threats that can’t be resolved
individual authorities, and practical at the local level, pilot round tables
Issues of impunity of perpetrators and
constraints, such as distance to the could be held to facilitate joint analysis
arbitrary arrests were two other key
courts, which prevent victims from of the problems underpinning the issues
areas identified as major challenges of impunity and arbitrary arrests, and
impacting upon the effectiveness of giving testimony.
identify areas where it is possible for
Protection Structure activities. Both It is not within the remit of Oxfam’s Oxfam to support authorities to
these problems arise from a number of protection programme to address these intervene. This could include, for
connected institutional factors. In the underlying problems. Oxfam has had example, facilitating a joint analysis of
case of arbitrary arrests, this includes some success, however, in advocacy in the reasons behind arbitrary arrests and
the lack of or irregular pay of the Police specific protection issues through identifying feasible steps to take.

RECOMMENDATIONS • Start engaging with local authorities at Support to Protection Structures
the level of the Commissariat and • Support monthly coordination meetings
Overall recommendations for Sous-commissariat between representatives of each
Oxfam This includes training representatives on Protection Structure during the project
• Provide a minimum of two years’ support the same protection topics as local period to facilitate coordination and
to each community authorities, and piloting the exchange of challenges and learning.
Ideally three years but this may depend establishment of committees of • Routinely train all Protection Structure
on the intensity of activities, and the authorities who can undertake simple members, not just Focal Points, on
fragility of the security situation. In some actions to support positive behaviour confidential referral, as all individuals
areas that experience regular amongst their units and colleagues. appear to carry out this activity.
displacement and security challenges, • Ensure that re-election of Protection
• Carry out research into possibilities for
such as around Kitchanga in Masisi, then supporting a simple revolving savings Structures is not carried out in the final
longer-term support may be appropriate. scheme for Protection Structures General Assembly, but that individual
Providing two to three years of support members who have become inactive are
Investigate approaches used by other
seems likely to strengthen the extent to replaced on an ongoing basis.
NGOs in the DRC, and key lessons

which Protection Structure activities are • Place emphasis on establishing a clear
learnt, before integrating a pilot into a
of good quality and embedded in meeting and planning schedule,
new or planned protection project. Any
communities, and give some more time including coaching on how to facilitate
scheme should minimise the amount of
for wider behaviour changes to take effective meetings of the Protection
external input, and not necessarily be
place (e.g. changes in early marriage). Structures.
introduced at the very start of the
• As part of exit planning ensure different
• Build visits to exit communities into new project, in order to not place too much
scenarios are discussed, such as the
projects emphasis on this activity. Across all
departure of one of the group leaders,
Focus on working with partners to build communities, positive examples of
and different actions the Protection
up geographical coverage in particular members contributing a regular amount
Structures can take to minimise negative
areas and build support visits to exit to support activities can be shared to
communities into new project proposals motivate Protection Structures to reflect
• Develop simple guidelines for Animators
for this area. Continuing implementation upon what they can do to support
that can be integrated into current
via partner organisations, rather than activities following project closure.
meetings and training sessions with
directly, will facilitate this longer-term Protection Structures on drawing
approach. Even when budgets are tight, Specific recommendations for
boundaries for members involvement in
a support visit as little as twice a year Oxfam 34
individual cases, including the use of
could provide significant motivation to • Revise the programme guide35 to include role-play.
Protection Structure members. However, the specific points mentioned below and • During exit planning, support Protection
too-regular support visits risk not develop and share with partners an ‘Exit Structures to define clear objectives for
providing Protection Structures with Checklist’ that outlines key points to information collection and sharing as
sufficient space to define how they consider and actions to take at different part of the protection monitoring, early
independently want to continue their stages of a project. This includes, for warning and wider reporting systems.
future activities. Develop guidelines for example, supporting the Protection
what these support visits should cover, Structures to increasingly take the lead Awareness raising
and clearly explain what the limits of the in facilitating Reunions Mixtes and other • Train Protection Structures on the use of
partner’s and Oxfam’s support is regular meetings, organising a meeting theatre / drama as a routine activity, to
following project closure. with Protection Structures before the support engaging awareness-raising
end of the project to discuss whether approaches in the long term.
and how they would like to continue • Carry out a review of the use of
after project closure, and what actions protection playing cards in awareness
can be taken during the project to raising36 and consider other simple tools
support their decision. This should also that can be left with the Protection
include a section on how to structure a Structures.37
support visit (e.g. a sample agenda).
Regularly update this guide based on
examples of good practices and
challenges shared by partners during
programme learning reviews.

Cooperation between Protection Recommendations for funders • Move beyond one-year funding time
Structures: and NGOs using community- frames
• Carry out training sessions with mixed Recognise that although changes can
based protection approaches
groups of members of the CPC, Women’s be achieved in one year, in the context
• Ensure that expectations of of a chronic crisis in Eastern DRC, ideally
Forum and Change Agents in each
sustainability are realistic a minimum of two years of support is
community to support the development
Given the systematic problems required. Working within annual funding
of these relationships.
underpinning protection threats in cycles to provide multi-year support to
• Support the Protection Structures to
Eastern DRC, and ongoing insecurity, communities can be a significant
carry out a review of this co-operation
ensure that expectations of the resource drain on partners and teams.
as part of exit planning.
sustainability of community group
activities is realistic and that some form • Ensure that the principle of voluntary
Material support participation is respected and that any
of longer-term support may be required,
• At the start of each project, print copies
or that if the security situation remuneration is appropriate
of the summary modules to give to the
deteriorates, renewed support to former Plan project activities to minimise the
Protection Structures whilst waiting for
communities may be needed. impact upon participants’ normal
the procurement of the plastic-covered
activities and their ability to earn an
copies. • Ensure that definitions of sustainability income. Make sure remuneration
• Routinely budget for and provide rain don’t focus on a narrow definition of provided is appropriate, and coordinate
coats and boots. activities with other agencies where possible. This
• As part of exit planning, support the Recognise that sustainability does not may include providing some form of
Protection Structures to identify a only refer to the ongoing organisation of compensation for time spent during
possible long-term meeting space. This group activities, but also the wider training sessions, but ensure that this
may include using some of the frais de knowledge, attitude and behaviour amount is not so large as to be
fonctionnment to construct a simple changes in a community, even if perceived by other community members
meeting room or developing signed activities are not ongoing after project or local authorities as a ‘salary’.
agreements with a local school or health closure. When activities do continue,
Encourage remuneration ‘in kind’ by
centre, ensuring that a risk analysis of recognise that there may still be value in covering basic equipment, such as rain
different options is carried out activities that are not carried out in coats, boots, bicycles and T-Shirts.
groups, such as supporting self-
Engagement with local authorities protection strategies and confidential • Budget for sufficient staff support
• During monthly Reunions Mixtes, support referral. It may not be useful for an Recognise that, often, the support most
the follow-up of actions and organisation to define itself as valued by community members, and
accountability by not only identifying sustainable, but to be open to how which can have the strongest impact
which authority is responsible for an activities and groups evolve over time, upon both process and outcome
action, but which authority will monitor and what they see as most relevant to sustainability, involves a large amount of
what happens. their situation. staff time, but not necessarily high-
• As part of exit planning, hold a meeting activity costs. Support project teams to
with the Protection Structures and local • Have realistic expectations of what reflect these costs in budgets in ways
authorities to decide upon what types changes are possible and how these can that meet donor requirements but don’t
and spaces of engagement they would be reflected in M&E Frameworks require cuts to these costs. Donors
like to continue after project closure. The nature of many protection threats is should encourage constructive dialogue
• Support the Protection Structures to that they may return as the wider on budgeting around ‘projects that use a
advocate with local authorities to sign environment changes. Don’t see this soft approach based on dedicating a lot
simple identity documents after a risk necessarily as a failure of a project, but of time in accompanying community
analysis has been carried out. recognise what incremental change is structures.
• As part of exit planning, encourage the possible and realistic in this
local authorities to include, in handover environment and then make sure that
documents, their cooperation with the objectives, outcomes and indicators in
Protection Structures. log frames and M&E frameworks reflect
• Ensure that suitable emphasis is placed this.
upon training and coaching Protection
Structures on meeting facilitation.

Green, D (2015) ‘How Change Has Community Project Dates Partner Organisation
Happened in the DRC - Oxfam Case
Study’, Oxfam Policy & Practice North Kivu: Masisi

Oxfam (2016) ‘What is protection Rubaya October–December 2015 SOPROP
anyway?’, http://policy-practice. Bihambwe
what-is-protection-anyway Kitchanga April 2013–May 2014 Benefance then
The Women’s Forum received SOPROP
Wessells, M (2009) ‘What Are We additional support between
Learning About Protecting Children in Rugarama December 2014 and March 2015
the Community? An inter-agency
North Kivu: South Lubero
review of the evidence on community
based child protection mechanisms in Alimbongo May 2009–September 2012 CEPROSSAN
development and humanitarian
settings’, Save the Children Fund
Mighobwe May 2009–March 2014
Ituri: Irumu
Sorodo March 2011–March 2013 AJEDEC
Haut Uele: Niangara
Ligunza March 2011–March 2013 ACPD
Haut Uele: Dungu [NB the majority of sites are neighborhoods of Dungu]
Ngilima March 2011–March 2013 Conscience

IF we DON’T,

1 Nb. that the number of members and structure varied 19 It is notable that Protection Structures in Rubaya and Front cover:
slightly in different projects. E.g. in one urban area, the Bihambwe in Masisi, which only received three months of Ramon Sanchez Orense
number of CPC members was increased and they were project support, continue to carry out awareness raising, Page 5:
drawn from different neighbourhoods of the town. The advocacy and referral activities; however the project Ramon Sanchez Orense
objectives, however, have remained constant. appears less ‘embedded’ here.
Page 6:
2 Specific authorities to engage with are identified through 20 Mighobwe, Kanyabayonga, Kikuvo, Loufu, Kirumba, Eleanor Farmer
a power analysis. They commonly include representatives Kamandi, Bulotwa. Page 10:
of the Police National Congolais (PNC), the Forces Armes de Eleanor Farmer
la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), Agence 21 Local authorities such as the PNC and FARDC are posted
National de Renseignement (ANR), the Chef de Groupement, to a location for a period of time but are then moved Page 13:
Chef de Chefferie and traditional and religious leaders. elsewhere. Ramon Sanchez Orense
Page 16:
3 Green (2015) 22 Often local authorities who participate in the programme
Eleanor Farmer
take the legal texts they are given away with them when
4 Partners at the time of publication were CEDIER, SIKASH they leave. Page 19:
and UPDI in South Kivu and CEPROSSAN and SOPROP in North Ramon Sanchez Orense
Kivu. 23 FdF, Ngilima, Dungu

5 ‘Internal’ refers to factors linked to project support and 24 In which survivors of violence were forced to marry the
delivery, while ‘external’ applies to wider changes in the perpetrator.
operating environment
25 Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) s a treatment that can
6 In this particular project members of Protection prevent HIV infection after the virus has entered a person’s
Structures were drawn from existing structures such as body.
Women’s Associations and community health workers.
26 Results from telephone interview.
7 A potential reason why the Women’s Forum was more
27 The number of training sessions included for Protection
active could be because they received an additional three
Structures in different projects ranged from two to five a
months of support in 2015.
year, depending on the budget available. This means that it
8 Animators accompany protection structures throughout can take two or three years to cover training on a core
the lifespan of a project. They organise general assemblies, range of different protection topics.
train committee members and local authorities on
28 E.g. A theatre sketch of a man playing a positive
protection topics and support protection structures in their
‘non-traditional’ gender role, as opposed to repeating
different activities, including in advocacy and awareness
simple didactic messages.
raising activities.
29 Discussion during the restitution workshop with
9 Oxfam (2012) ‘Facilitating access to services for victims of
programme partners raised the risks of this being seen as a
violence in Eastern DRC’
separate committee (and therefore adding to the
10 There is evidence that, in some instances, this includes Structures). However, possible mitigating actions were
intervening in cases of domestic violence but it is not clear identified - for example each member participating in this
what information or advice is provided by the Protection coordination group hosts meetings for a period of three
Structures. months, before members rotate.

11 Regular meetings that are held with civil, administrative 30 A training module on this had recently been revised, but
and military authorities in a community identified through a not yet tested, at the time of publication.
power analysis. Their regularity varies from project to
31 Although Oxfam does not provide signed ID cards to the
project, from quarterly to monthly. In each meeting it is
Protection Structures to identify them as ‘Oxfam
normally the Advocacy Focal Points from the Protection
Committees’, in several communities in Masisi, partner
Structures who participate.
SOPROP has been successful in advocating with local
12 During the programme anonymised and codified authorities that they sign simple IDs recognising the
information (personal data is not recorded) is Protection Structures.
communicated to implementing partners often through
32 Recommendations from interviews with the Police
calls or text messages, or documented in a notebook.
Commander and Administrateur de Territoire in Butembo.
Animators facilitate discussion with the Protection
Structures in trends in protection incidents to inform 33 Examples include CARE’s support to Village Savings and
weekly and monthly planning. Implementing partners Loans Schemes (VSLAs) or IRC’s EA$E approach.
compile incidents across multiple project locations in an
Excel database, which feeds into UNHCR’s monitoring, and 34 Nb. that a document containing very detailed
their own situational analysis and advocacy. recommendations for different approaches to address the
key challenges identified in the research was developed
13 It seems like it may be a rotating savings group. with Oxfam staff and partners through a workshop to
discuss the research results in June 2016, and is available
14 For example in Kainama, North Kivu, where some
upon request (French only).
Protection Structure members set up a small restaurant to
support themselves as they worked. 35 This refers to a guidance document produced in 2015,
which provides details on each stage and activity of the
15 Nb. this observation was shared by CEPROSSAN in the
programme and good practice examples from different
research restitution workshop but it was not a community
where field research was undertaken.
36 This has been piloted in Uvira, South Kivu.
16 Interview with AJEDEC Focal Point, 3 March 2016
37 A Terms of Reference was developed to pilot the use of
17 This often mirrors the way meetings were structured
‘Throw Boxes’ but funding was not available at the time.
during the programme, which may vary between areas.

18 Such as working megaphones, legal texts translated
into local languages, T-Shirts with protection messages.
This research was designed, managed and
authored by Helen Lindley-Jones.

Research leads: Richard Nunn; Felix
Changa Changa; Dominique Sametu
(ACPD); Michel Mivunguba Kaneru
© Oxfam GB November 2016 (SAIPED); Bienvenu Sakananu
This publication is copyright but the text Wambongo (Conscience); Jean Djari,
may be used free of charge for the Gisèle Zawadi, Joël Lonema and Beatrice
purposes of advocacy, training and Kuba (AJEDEC).
research, provided that the source is
acknowledged in full. The copyright Researchers and support staff: Annie
holder requests that all such use be Kabonga, Gracia Bahwere, Melanie
registered with them for impact Kesmaecker-Wissing, Jean Olenga, Jospin
assessment purposes. For copying in any Kabuya, Jean-Pierre, Sophie Tangala,
other circumstances, or for re-use in
Kizito Gbongbo, Anita Ageno, Jacques
other publications, or for translation or
Tukpe, Dieubéni Mboliangba, Angélique
adaptation, permission must be secured
and a fee may be charged. Mboltini, Patrick Kalengi, Justine
Komuasiane, Nicolas Atafo, Jean Djari,
Email policyandpractice@oxfam.org.uk Gisèle Zawadi, Joël Lonema, Beatrice
The information in this publication is Kuba, Roger Kasiki, Francoise Busi,
correct at the time of going to press. Edouard Niyonzima and CEPROSSAN.
Published by Oxfam GB under Feedback on report: Melanie Kesmaecker-
ISBN 978-0-85598-829-6 in November Wissing, Richard Nunn, Rachel Hastie,
Emma Fanning and Joanna Trevor.
Oxfam GB, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive,
Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY, UK. Donors that have funded the standalone protection
programme in the past (alphabetical order):
Oxfam is a registered charity in England
and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland DFID
(SC039042) and a company limited by ECHO
guarantee registered in England and European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights
Wales No 612172 at Oxfam House, John (EIDHR)
Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY. Individual European women’s organisations
Music Circle
Pooled Fund
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

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