UN officials have called DRC the epicenter of rape as a weapon of war, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited rape victims in eastern Congo in 2009 in an effort to draw more attention to one of Africa’s most disturbing conflicts.
In the DRC, International Medical Corps takes a holistic approach to addressing violence against women, so that survivors have access to medical, psychosocial, legal, economic, and social resources needed to recover as well as work with communities to prevent and reduce violence against women. We offer case management and emotional support services for survivors of GBV. We also provide legal services, livelihoods training and economic opportunities to help survivors recover and become self-reliant.
Over the last 2 years in North and South Kivu, International Medical Corps has:
Justice for victims of violence is elusive in DRC. Perpetrators of violence walk free within days—if ever caught in the first place. What’s more, social stigma prevents women from seeking treatment or reporting attacks.
But, International Medical Corps is working to change attitudes towards women.
“Community leaders in Bukavu were called for training on women in leadership. When I heard, I was not interested in attending, but the M’ze (chief) sent me to represent him. For me, it was a women’s issue. Though I have daughters, I have never thought I have something to discuss with them. And these young women came (project facilitator) and talked about how girls can face problems outside of home, in schools, in the street and how they need our support as family heads, as parents. On the second day, we discussed the benefit of including girls at all level of decisions.
I felt impressed and touched by the message. I have four daughters whom I had never find necessary to discuss something different from my food to be served. From this training venue, I think I will start to start.‘’
-60-year-old man , Bukavu International Medical Corps’ efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo focus not only on women, but also on their families. The participant quoted above took part in a training session on the inclusion of women in decision-making for community and religious leaders. The workshop included both men and women, and discussed topics from the principles of community mobilization to the legal instruments that protect women and advocacy. These topics are key to educating communities about women’s rights.
Workshops like the one described above bring together community leaders and empower them to create change within their own families. By educating community elders – and their sons, daughters, wives and husbands, International Medical Corps helps leaders set an example for the entire community, changing the way women and girls are treated.
Almost two years have passed since the devastating 9.0-earthquake struck Japan, initiating a massive tsunami and subsequent radiation crisis. International Medical Corps, on the ground within 48 hours, provided immediate assistance to at-risk populations and the government. As the focus on Japan today has shifted from emergency to recovery, International Medical Corps continues to provide vital support for community-based local partners. Our work in Japan will continue to evolve with local partners to address ongoing humanitarian needs and help communities rebuild – making them more resilient . Over the next year, International Medical Corps will continue to support recovery efforts of local partners, including creating several much-needed community spaces inFukushima where evacuees can access recreational workshops, counseling, and information on assistance programs.
International Medical Corps, with the Japanese government and other international NGOs, will also be collaborating on a long-term Disaster Preparedness Initiative that will focus on building capacity of local community-based organizations to respond to future disasters – preparing for an even faster response and helping to save lives in the future.
Thank you for your continued support of our Japan programs and of International Medical Corps. You make our work possible.
P.S. Mark your calendars – Global Giving will be matching donations to our Japan projects between March 1 and March 15th, dollar for dollar. This doubles the impact of your investment in Japan’s future!
This month marked three years since Haiti’s 2010 earthquake—a day none of us will ever forget. It also marks International Medical Corps’ third year in Haiti, where we have been working uninterrupted, side by side with Haitians, since just 22 hours after the earthquake hit.
With your support, International Medical Corps has accomplished an enormous amount over the past three years. During the initial emergency response, we deployed more than 400 medical volunteers to provide critical care for hundreds of thousands of Haitians. Subsequently, we established a network of primary health care clinics in and around earthquake-affected areas and launched programs in mental health, nutrition, child protection, early childhood development, water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, emergency medicine development, and cholera prevention and response.
International Medical Corps was one of the first responders to Haiti’s cholera outbreak in October 2010, rolling out a network of 10 cholera treatment centers that provided lifesaving cholera care for more than 33,215 cholera patients. We also ran an emergency medicine development program at Port-au-Prince's General Hospital that trained more than 300 Haitian physicians and nurses in nearly every component of emergency care delivery.
In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked further havoc on the fragile island nation, killing at least 54, leaving over 200,000 homeless, and causing extensive flooding and damage. Diarrheal disease, cholera and food insecurity have spiked as a result of Sandy. International Medical Corps responded by adding two additional mobile medical units (MMUs) in one of the hardest hit areas, Les Cayes, to provide cholera screenings, primary health screenings, health care services and hygiene promotion.
All this—three years of support for Haiti’s recovery—was made possible by you.
Today, we continue to help rebuild Haiti’s broken health infrastructure through robust training programs for local health professionals and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health, while providing cholera treatment and prevention services through MMUs in hard-to-reach remote communities in Southern Haiti. We are also working to rehabilitate the damaged Aquin District water supply system, restoring water for 94,000 vulnerable Haitians.
So thank you for helping Haiti rebuild: one day at a time for three years running and still going strong.