Over the next five years, more than a quarter of a million Congolese will benefit from assistance aimed at preventing sexual and gender-based violence and assisting survivors thanks to three programs funded by the United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Two programs will increase access to and quality of medical, psychological, social, legal, and economic services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in key areas in the conflict-affected eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They aim to build community capacity to reduce vulnerability to future acts of violence in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Maniema provinces. Both projects, totaling $32.2 million over five years, provide support for clinics, hospitals, community centers for women and children, and mental health services through partnerships with more than 100 health facilities in Kalonge, Bunyakiri, Chambucha, Itebero, Walikale, and Lubutu, Lolwa, Mutwanga, Lubero, Alimbongo, Obokote, Ferekeni, Idjwi, Mwenga, and Shabunda Health Zones. Community-based groups in the targeted provinces will also receive assistance to help individuals and families regain their livelihoods. The projects are implemented by International Medical Corps, in coordination with the American Bar Association and Cooperazione Internazionale, and Interchurch Medical Assistance Inc., in coordination with Heal Africa, Panzi Hospital, and Program for the Promotion of Primary Health Care.
The third project, launched today, will assist communities affected by sexual and gender-based violence in North and South Kivu, Maniema, Kisangani, and Bukavu provinces. The USAID assistance seeks to implement behavior change communication to impact social attitudes, practices, and norms associated with sexual and gender-based violence to promote community cohesion and prevent acts of sexual violence at the community level. International Medical Corps is the prime grantee of this $10 million five-year program, and will work with Search for Common Ground, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Center for Communication Programs.
The three projects are called Care, Access, Safety and Empowerment (CASE), USHINDI (which in Swahili means “to overcome” or “victory”), and Bienvenue aux Changements dans la Communauté (BCC).