International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through healthcare training, disaster relief, and long-term development programs.
Sep 1, 2016

Clean Water and Healthier Communities

Anjuta and Aashika wash their hands
Anjuta and Aashika wash their hands

Aashika and her best friend Anjuta attend school with some 300 other students, tucked into the hillside of rural Dhading region of Nepal, a few hour’s walk from the nearest town. They seem just like any other six year-old friends anywhere in the world, clasping hands wherever they go. Although they are still very young, the little girls have already experienced one of the worst natural disasters to ever strike their country. After the 2015 earthquake, their water supply was contaminated, and the nearest community with clean water was inaccessible due to landslides and damaged roads. Without clean water to drink or bathe with, Aashika and Anjuta could suffer from dehydration or risk disease and infection caused by contaminated water.

Dhading is a beautiful region of Nepal, which comes alive with lush greenery during the monsoon season, when drenching showers saturate the countryside and fill the area’s streams and rivers. But even though the land is saturated, with the devastation from the earthquake, the people of Dhading lack much of what they need for safe drinking water, including water access points, piping and reservoir tanks, and the knowledge of water management necessary to provide reliable, clean water year-round. Areas of Dhading were not alone – some 1.1 million people in Nepal were left without long-term access to protecting water sources.

With help from local partners, International Medical Corps has brought new water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities and associated learning programs to communities and local schools. For example, in Aashika and Anjuta’s community, our teams identified a local, untapped spring and built intake and filter systems, plus a reservoir storage tank capable of holding up to 6,500 liters of water. This new source now provides a direct supply of clean water to over 30 households and nearly 200 people.  

Most popular with Aashika, Anjuta, and their classmates at their school in Muralibhanjyang area is the new hand-washing station, which conveniently stands 27 inches high, a height that offers easy access for all students. “The new hand-washing place is better than the old one,” Aashika said as she reaches for the soap. Anjuta, humming a tune she learned at school as she washes her hands, explains, “We always use this song to help us remember all six steps,” referring to one of several child-friendly tools used to instill lifelong habits of proper hygiene practices in students.

In addition to providing hand-washing stations and lessons on their use, International Medical Corps is promoting a wider cleanliness and proper water-use campaign, in which student clubs take the lead in creating a hygienically clean, environmentally minded school. Students are learning to manage physical waste by segregating it into bio- and non-biodegradable bins. They are also learning how to manage waste water, using it to care for plants grown in the school’s garden. The produce is then sold to local communities. Our teams are installing new latrines to replace the existing dilapidated, unsanitary facilities, while student clubs help set—and then manage—latrine cleaning schedules and classroom cleanup days.

International Medical Corps’ school program is not just about clean hands, it is about a clean environment and lifestyle. The principal of the school has been pleasantly surprised by the change in student attitudes and the eagerness with which they have embraced their new responsibilities. “The students themselves have taken ownership,” he says. “They’ve become incredibly concerned about hygiene and water use. We have five and six year-olds immediately informing their teachers when soap runs out, and 10 and 12 year-olds eager to arrange cleaning duties. The level of self-management they’ve shown is impressive.”

The Dhading region is home to just a handful of the over 100,000 people, like Aashika and Anjuta, who benefit from similar International Medical Corps water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in Nepal. We thank the GlobalGiving community and other donors for their critical support to help the people of Nepal on their journey from relief to self-reliance.  

An older student helps her younger classmate
An older student helps her younger classmate
Aug 30, 2016

Final Report and Update on Empower a Girl in the Congo

Thousands of people sought services
Thousands of people sought services

In recent years, reports of the use of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo by both armed and civilian entities were widespread. Particularly in the eastern part of the country, sexual violence is acknowledged as destabilizing communities and eroding the social structures that protect communities and individuals. In response, International Medical Corps implemented a prevention and protection program against sexual- and gender-based violence using behavior change communication in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This program, named “Bienvenue au Changement dans la Communaute,” or “Welcome Change in the Community,” funded with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), began in 2010 and has been completed. 

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ efforts, please visit our “A Healthier Future for South Sudan’s Families” project, where International Medical Corps is responding to the urgently needed support for health services, helping communities rebuild and restore hope.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/a-healthier-future-for-families-in-south-sudan/

International Medical Corps’ Final Update on Empower a Girl in the Congo

“My name is M’mukinya, chief of Nandanga village. In my village when there is a case of rape brought to my attention, the man was taxed to pay me a goat and then the lady’s parents are encouraged to receive the dowry and arrange for marriage. I never thought that this practice was wrong until 2013 when the International Medical Corps team started to reach out to our community through their various activities, including raising awareness on sexual- and gender-based violence. It was then that I realized I was doing wrong against families and my entire community.”

Since 2010, International Medical Corps has been working to reduce the level of sexual violence in communities in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, increasing both prevention and protection for individuals. To meet this goal, our teams focused on increasing community action to prevent sexual violence at all social levels and building new and positive behavior to ensure change is reinforced and sustained.

M’mukinya continues, “Through this program, they [International Medical Corps] organized many workshops, community dialogues and debates with community leaders that I personally attended. These activities helped me to understand that I was promoting sexual- and gender-based violence in my community. I decided to encourage my community to report any case of rape to the police because I do not have the ability to handle this problem. There is a law against sexual- and gender-based violence in our country and any perpetrator must be punished according to the law.  I now commit myself to play the required role as a community leader who is protecting his community, and especially women and girls.”

We reached approximately 10.3 million people, like M’mukinya, with sexual- and gender-based violence behavior change communication interventions in their communities through approaches like workshops, dialogues and debates. Our activities spanned across Bunyakiri, Kalonge and Bukavu in South Kivu as well as in Chambucha, Walikale and Goma in North Kivu. Across each area, we identified different levels for behavior change communication including the individual, community and society with its various institutions, such as government structures to create and adopt positive change. For example, with individuals, our teams worked to identify prevention strategies to promote attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that ultimately prevent violence, such as life skills training. While the project reached millions, the need to address sexual- and gender-based violence remains.

We thank the GlobalGiving community for you continued support as we work to address some of the most pressing issues across the world. 

"I thank you for changing my life."
"I thank you for changing my life."
Behavior change in the community is key
Behavior change in the community is key
Aug 12, 2016

Final Report and Update on Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador

Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease
Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease

International Medical Corps’ earthquake response in Ecuador concluded on July 31, and we have handed all of our water, sanitation and hygiene activities to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). International Medical Corps assisted approximately 9,860 people, helping to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease in the aftermath of the disaster.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit “A Healthier Future for South Sudan’s Families” project, where International Medical Corps is responding to the urgently needed care for those affected by recent conflict.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/a-healthier-future-for-families-in-south-sudan/

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador 

“At first they [International Medical Corps] came around asking where the most needs were. By the next week they came and built showers, latrines, and are currently putting up water tanks. Truly this is what we need. It is very good help because good health care begins with good hygiene. For me, this is incredible.” Dr. Carlos, a local physician and beneficiary, from Jama of Manabí province in Ecuador recalls.

Carlos speaks of our response following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, striking Ecuador on April 16, 2016. With more than 2,280 aftershocks, many coastal villages were devastated, with significant damage further inland, including collapsed buildings and destroyed roads. The Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency for six provinces, including the worst-affected coastal provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas. In all, there were 671 fatalities, 6,200 injuries, and the damage or destruction of 29,000 buildings.

The Government of Ecuador estimates that rebuilding Ecuador’s earthquake-damaged communities, repairing local infrastructure, and fully regaining economic productivity may take as long as three years. A total of 68,000 families—approximately 231,000 people—registered for government assistance through the Registro Único de Damnificados. The government has supported more than 10,470 affected families with food and rent support, and issued 9,300 bonds for housing reconstruction. Classes officially resumed on July 4, with an estimated 55,000 children returning to academic activity following the completion of 26 temporary education units in affected areas.

Humanitarian and disaster response organizations are currently handing over activities to sustainable country entities, including various government ministries and organizations with a long-term country presence. In Esmeraldas and Manabí, approximately 8,700 people remained in 26 official displacement sites as of late July, with thousands of others staying with host families and in spontaneous settlements. The Government of Ecuador and relief agencies have emphasized the importance of coordination to ensure that existing needs continue to be addressed as the emergency response phase comes to a close and recovery efforts move forward.

In support of the Government of Ecuador’s response efforts and in the wake of the April 16 quake, International Medical Corps deployed an emergency response expert to provide relief in the aftermath of the quake. Longtime First Responder, Dr. Robert Fuller, joined a team of 30 local medical professionals to assess the needs in the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. The local team of medical volunteers provided care to 158 patients and delivered basic medical supplies and medicines to health facilities in the days immediately following the quake.

In response to identified needs and working in coordination with government entities and other relief partners, we deployed an emergency response team to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance in quake-affected Manabí Province. Focusing efforts in the affected cantons, or “districts”, of Jama and Pedernales, we reached 32 sites, including 25 small villages, five displacement camps, and two spontaneous settlements, partnering with organizations like Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio to help ensure services reached those most in need.

Working hand-in-hand with community members, we constructed 76 showers and 30 latrines in Jama and Pedernales, benefitting approximately 3,380 people. Our teams also assembled 19 water tanks for the showers, along with handwashing stations. In order to ensure that affected households had access to soap, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary pads, and other essential hygiene items, we also delivered 2,051 hygiene kits. Water filters accompanied the kits when needed, with teams distributing 930 water filters to families. Our interventions helped to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease by restoring and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the aftermath of the disaster.

With your generous and timely support and support from other donors, we reached some 9,860 men, women, and children – like Dr. Carlos – with relief services following the quake in Ecuador. We thank you for your continued support as we work to assist those in urgent need anywhere, anytime, no matter what the conditions.

Photos taken by Enrique Aviles. 

We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
Activities spanned 32 sites
Activities spanned 32 sites
 
   

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