Friends of the Congo (FOTC)

Friends of the Congo (FOTC) is a 501(c)3 advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Established in 2004, FOTC works in partnership with Congolese people to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire. FOTC raises consciousness about the challenges of the Congo and supports Congolese institutions as they strive to bring about peaceful and lasting change.

Its flagship global mobilization undertaking is "Breaking the Silence: Congo Week," which takes place during the third week of October each year. Congo Week is a global event that commemorates the millions of lives lost in the Congo conflict (the deadliest in the world since World War Two, according to the UN) while celebrating the enormous human and natural potential that exists in the country.

A 2017 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported FOTC's Lumumba Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for students in need of financial assistance to pay their school fees. The students are chosen by FOTC's coalition partners in the Congo. In return for their scholarships, the students contribute to the elevation of the condition of their country through public service.

A 2016 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported La Jeunesse Pour Une Nouvelle Societe's efforts to capture the imagination and conscience of young Congolese and create a new visionary leadership for the Congo. This included organizing a concert, creating and distributing flyers to educated youth about their civic role and responsibilities, increasing access to online and mobile technologies, collaborating with local artists, and organizing forums and workshops for youth.

From 2009 to 2014, annual grants from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported Breaking the Silence: Congo Week (international events and follow-up), the Congo in Harlem film and performance series, and efforts to document the peace and social justice movement inside the Congo in short documentaries. Grants also supported FOTC partner organizations and projects inside the Congo, including the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival, where thousands of Congolese youth gather each year to utilize art, film, music, theatre and dance to teach conflict resolution skills to youth afflicted by the conflict.

Websites: www.friendsofthecongo.org www.congoweek.org

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