After consultations with the Congolese Parliament and donors in 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo Programme achieved almost all of its successes in the context of conflict prevention, particularly through parliamentary diplomacy and capacity building. The partnership between AWEPA and the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was founded in 1999. Since then, AWEPA has cooperated with the National Assembly and the Senate, and has developed activities with four provincial Legislative Assemblies. AWEPA’s role has been to work jointly with the parliament of the DRC in supporting its main functions and in supporting both capacity building and parliamentary diplomacy. On the one hand, capacity building activities aim at strengthening Legislative Assemblies by the means of seminars and workshops, and develop the skills of specific actors (elected national parliamentarians, elected provincial deputies and women parliamentarians). On the other hand, parliamentary diplomacy targets conflict prevention and resolution.
AWEPA’s main objective in DRC is strengthening the capacities of the bicameral Parliament, which is composed of a lower Chamber – the National Assembly, and an upper Chamber – the Senate. More specifically, the objectives of the AWEPA program in DRC in 2012 were:
- to establish the needs of the DRC Parliament;
- to organize a series of outreach activities to the attention of parliamentarians and members of the administration of the National Assembly;
- to reinforce women parliamentarians capacities in the perspective of provincial and local elections;
- to promote parliamentary diplomacy, and in particular, to facilitate meetings between parliamentarians from DRC and Rwanda.
AWEPA was able to develop a parliamentary cooperation plan with both Houses of the Parliament to strengthen its capacity to undertake parliamentary diplomacy and contribute to the management of conflicts in the Great Lakes region. This programme was facilitated within the multilateral framework of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). AWEPA’s parliamentary cooperation plan constitutes a strong foundation for further bilateral meetings to take place between members of the DRC Parliament and those of neighboring Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi to share views in order to find solutions to issues that currently oppose governments.