"Vrai Djo" ("Real Man") PSA Campaign
The Vrai Djo campaign engages men as positive actors in the in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Asking, "Est-il un vrai djo?" (Is he a real man?), the campaign promotes positive male role models.
In collaboration with Cyberpictures and with support from the British government, SFCG has used its media expertise to create five short films as well as three audio spots which air on radio and television throughout the country.
Violence against women is a major issue in the DRC. Rape in the country has often been used as a weapon of war, but has continued and even increased after the war's end. It is estimated that there are as many as 400,000 surviving rape victims living in the DRC today. The result is that large sectors of society perceive violence against women as a normal part of life. However, the campaign turns common assumptions about male behavior in familiar situations, such as going to a job interview, on their head.
The Vrai Djo campaign features Celeo Scram, a Congolese superstar with a positive image, who plays various roles in the video spots. Society presents many opportunities for men—as fathers, boyfriends, employers, or husbands—to treat a woman badly or with respect. Vrai Djo seeks to encourage dialogue around what these opportunities are, as well as on the role of men in Congolese society.
The films portray scenarios that often lead to sexual harassment or abuse that Congolese audiences will be familiar with; a job interview or a wife returning from work late, and shows instead, opportunities for men to support the women in their lives.
"A real man (Vrai Djo) is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to control himself", explains Celeo. "He is a person who respects himself and respects the women and girls around him."
Vrai Djo is the first media campaign against sexual violence that seeks to promote a positive role for men.
"One often sees campaigns that denounce men's behaviors and say what they should not do, but one never sees a campaign that motivates men to become positive, to find their inner strength, and to respect women and girls," explains Dirk Koch, SFCG DRC country director.
Videos & Synopses
Press play to watch all of the PSAs or use the arrow button to skip through them.
The Employer: A job recruiter appears to be requesting sexual favors from a candidate when he asks her to continue the interview that evening at a hotel. However, it is revealed that the interviewer is a "Vrai Djo", who has invited the applicant to the hotel for a second round of interviews with additional members of staff.
The Husband: A husband waits impatiently for his wife to come home from work and make dinner. When she finally arrives, the fear is that her husband will beat her. Instead, he acts like a "Vrai Djo", having already made dinner for them.
The Father: Child marriage is a particular concern in rural parts of the DRC. Here a father looks over his daughter’s poor grades, and calls a man to the house. At first his daughter worries that the man has come to marry her, but she is finds that her father is a "Vrai Djo", who has hired a personal tutor.
The Boyfriend: This video follows the progression of a relationship, culminating with a scene in an apartment. The boyfriend makes sexual advances toward his girlfriend, who refuses. The door is locked and the couple is alone, but the boyfriend is a "Vrai Djo" and respects his girlfriend’s decision and finds a different way to spend time with her; playing a board game.
The Soldier: Congolese soldiers are often associated with taking advantage of women. In this video, a soldier encounters a woman working alone in a field, who has collapsed from exhaustion. The woman is terrified thinking the soldier will mistreat her, but instead the "Vrai Djo" helps her get home safely.
In the capital, Kinshasa, the campaign was broadcast on television; SFCG programs are already watched there by millions of viewers and are amongst the most popular in the city. In more remote Dongo, the videos were screened in large outdoor projections. SFCG has successfully used ‘mobile cinema’ previously to screen films on SGBV in front of hundreds of thousands of people in rural areas throughout the DRC.
Sexual violence is a community-wide problem and one that SFCG believes can only be addressed if men are active partners in the solution.
Press Coverage & Links
Search for Common Ground in the DRC
Kinshasa / Bukavu