Using learning from protection programming in Colombia, Oxfam has been implementing its community protection programme in the DRC since 2006. It aims to help individuals prevent, and respond to, violence and abuse, while also holding duty-bearers to account for the protection of civilian populations. The programme uses a community-based approach that involves building Community Protection Structures (CPSs). Supported by Oxfam and partners, these are designed to identify the main threats faced by communities and find the best way of addressing them, while engaging with local authorities.
The programme seeks to address power imbalances, between men and women and also between rights holders and duty-bearers. Its core premise is that communication among community members, and between them and local authorities, is key in order to find pragmatic ways to uphold people’s rights while also holding authorities to account. This communication must be informed by a shared understanding of human rights.