Introduction

History

BVES, Le Bureau pour le Volontariat au service de l’Enfance et de la Santé, is a non-profit organization formed in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) on the 6th of March 1992 by a group of volunteers working for the health, education and protection of children (predominantly doctors, lawyers, sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists).  

This multidisciplinary group was motivated to come together by the sole desire to contribute to the promotion, protection and defence of children, in particular children who are victims of economic and social marginalization as well as armed conflicts (including street children, child workers, children without guardians, children in prison and child soldiers).  

Working in collaboration with UNICEF, Amnesty International and other leading NGOs in the field of human rights and children’s issues with the aim turning existing international legal instruments concerning the rights and protection of children into concrete action, BVES gained important experience on the ground and in difficult conditions. Through concrete action and an intensified appeal for the cause of children, BVES has become one of the leading Congolese humanitarian NGOs fighting to defend children's rights in the east of the DRC.

Partners

Since its foundation, BVES has collaborated with the Congolese Ministries for Social Affairs, Justice, Health, Youth, Education and Family, each of whom include the protection of children in their responsibilities.

For its DDR program (to Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate child soldiers), BVES collaborates with the UEPNDDR, The Executive Unit of the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Program (formerly CONADER, the National Commission for Demobilization and Reintegration).

 Over the last eighteen years, BVES programs have involved successful cooperation with:

  • UNICEF – United Nations Children’s Fund
  • UNWFP - United Nations World Food Program
  • UNHCR – United Nations High Commission for Refugees
  • UNDP - United Nations Development Program
  • WHO - The World Health Organization
  • MONUSCO - United Nations Mission for tMONUSCO - United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of the Congo (formerly MONUC)
  • The Red Cross, Switzerland
  • Save the Children UK
  • The Human Rights section of the United States embassy to the DRC
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Amnesty International
  • The international secretariat of the Coalition to end the use of Child Soldiers
  • War Child, Holland
  • Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict
  • The Fund for Global Human Rights
  • The Global Fund for Children
  • Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen – ifa. Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany
  • Local and national NGOs

This cooperation has helped BVES to become an NGO exclusively devoted to the protection and defence of children's rights, not only in the DRC but also throughout the African Great Lakes region.

Management

BVES is managed on a daily basis by an administrative council (eight members, four of whom are women), a program office (five supervisors, two of whom are women) and 35 transitional structures or centres specialized in the protection of children's rights (252 coordinators and volunteers, of which 51% are women).

Murhabazi Namegabe is the Program Director at BVES, where he was worked tirelessly for more than fifteen years. Under his management, BVES has attained a place of utmost importance among Congolese NGOs involved in the protection and defence of children within the context of war which has dominated the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 1990s.

Prizes awarded

  • Prize for the promotion of the education of children 1995 - awarded by SYEZA (Zaire Union of Teachers)
  • Ambassadeur de la Main Rouge – an honorable title awarded by the international secretariat of the Coalition to end the use of Child Soldiers in 2007
  • The Rothko Chapel Oscar Romero Award for human rights 2010
  • Best defender of children's rights in the DRC – awarded by the Sud-Kivu Children's Parliament, 20/11/2010
  • Winner of the 2011 World Children’s Prize - awarded by World's Children's Prize Foundation in Sweden, 26/04/2011
  • Winner of Harubuntu Prize (Société Civile Dakar, Senagal, 8/12/2012)