Congolese beauticians and a fellowship

 

I'll be travelling to the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in January 2014, as a fellow on the International Women's Media Foundation's inaugural reporting fellowship in that country.

Official UN figures show that recorded cases of sexual violence in North Kivu soared from 4,689 cases in 2011 to 7,075 in 2012. Rape has become synonymous with reporting from that region.

I’ll be embarking upon a feature in print and photo, as well as long-form radio and multimedia, on how the women of eastern Congo view themselves and their bodies - through the lens of the beauty industry.

I hope to explore their conception of beauty and self-worth through the ideas and voices of hairdressers, beauticians, manicurists and tailors: how their understanding of femininity may have changed over decades of war and fear, and what may lie ahead for their daughters and themselves.

If you're interested in finding more about the feature or commissioning a piece from the DRC, please do get in touch.