‘CROSSINGS’ offers a compelling glimpse into the lives of cross-border traders in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and illustrates the potential of this trade to contribute to peace in the region.
Despite the DRC’s vast mineral wealth, its people are among the poorest in the world. Decades of conflict have left the country devastated. Irrespective of these troubles, life goes on in the DRC.
In a region where economic opportunities are limited, small-scale cross-border trade is one of the most important means for ordinary people to feed, clothe and educate their families. Three-quarters of these traders are women. International Alert, the peace building NGO believes cross-border trade offers an important opportunity for peace and prosperity in the region. Since 2009, Alert has been training women traders in business and cooperative skills, supporting dialogue with border officials and authorities, and raising awareness of the daily struggle traders face. Cross-border trade provides an income for tens of thousands of small traders, three-quarters of whom are women.
‘CROSSINGS’- The Journey To Peace and Prosperity
The aim of the ‘CROSSINGS’ essay was to create an emotive storey that would illuminate the plight of cross-border traders between the DR Congo and its neighbouring nations along the eastern border of the Kivus including Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. Cross-border trade is viewed as an essential economic platform to recreate the atmosphere of peace in a region that has been war torn for many decades. The over-riding theme threaded throughout is a story of hope for the region rather than dwelling on the historical narrative of the failed nation, although this has been referenced. The DR Congo is a stunningly exquisite nation with an abundance of unspoilt nature and a wealth of minerals, tragically much of the nation’s resources have been exploited through historical colonial rule and political tyranny.
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International Alert, UK
Carol Allen Storey - photographer
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Photo Essay Vignettes Emerging from the Journeys