Core23lab is a non-profit organisation based in the Lualaba province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The organisation works with different populations in the DRC, especially the mining communities of Katanga and Lualaba. It enables them to access opportunities and resources to elevate their socioeconomic status through research, education, technology and innovation. The biggest challenge in achieving socioeconomic development in these communities is gender inequality, which is rooted in patriarchal systems so often expressed in muted freedom of expression and freedom of association, with women at a disadvantage. The emergence of interactive social technologies such as social media has further escalated this challenge even though they provide a viable opportunity to counter gender inequality that continues to poison the health of productive communities.
While Core23lab’s core mission is to empower communities with tools to curb unemployment and poverty, our work uses social inclusiveness as an effective approach to define sustainable development solutions. This research is an ongoing effort by us to understand the existing inequalities that hinder women in the DRC in exercising their freedom of expression and freedom of association when using online platforms. Since Core23lab is very much intertwined with gender inclusivity, much of our work is focused on ensuring equity for all genders across the nuances of intersectionalities such as age, income, education backgrounds, among others.