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Following years of conflict and poverty, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experiences some of the most extreme sexual violence in the world. Although sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) can affect anyone, women and girls are most vulnerable and suffer the most from an epidemic of severe rape and abuse.
IMA currently leads project USHINDI, a five-year USAID-funded program designed to provide a holistic approach integrating medical, legal, psychosocial, and economic support services to survivors and those affected by SGBV. IMA collaborates with the Ministry of Health and several national/international NGOs, community organizations and women’s groups to provide quality care and treatment, raise awareness and improve the rights and protection of women. International partners include the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, Save the Children and CARE. Local partners include Children’s Voice, Program for Promotion of PHC (PSSP), HEAL Africa, and the Panzi Hospital Foundation.
In 2010 IMA and partners launched project activities that cover 10 health zones (Lolwa, Mutwanga, Lubero, Alimbongo, Obokote, Ferekini, Idjwi, Mwena, Shabunda and Komanda) within the Orientale, North Kivu, Maniema and South Kivu provinces. USHINDI provides access to quality and timely medical services, legal aid, psychosocial services, and economic support as well as assists in the legal prosecution of SGBV crimes. SGBV training is provided to a number of service providers in the community such as health personnel, schools, community workers and leaders, women and children’s groups and legal staff that serve the most vulnerable populations. Additionally, IMA provides community sensitization to overcome negative social attitudes toward women as well as works with civil authorities to ensure the protection of all women and the application of laws guaranteeing safety, protection and equal rights.
Accomplishing critical gains in SGBV awareness and responsive care and treatment needs, results to date include:
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