International Medical Corps inspires young women on International African Child Day:
On International African Child Day (June 16th), International Medical Corps’ Women in Leadership team (WiLEAD) organized an awareness session with girls in Kadutu, located in the Bukavu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). WiLEAD is a group of women that work to promote female leadership in the DRC by partnering with local women’s organizations and schools. During this particular promotional event, the young women were asked to list the people who inspired them.
Most of the girls identified their own mother as their inspiration; they recognized the challenges their mothers face while raising a large family, a commonality in the region. Few of the girls were able to identify an inspiration outside of their own family. Spurred by this, the Women in Leadership team invited local female leaders to speak with the adolescent girls to show them the types of leadership roles they could aspire to hold. Meeting these women leaders also provided an alternative positive female role model the girls could identify with and emulate.
Opportunities for women to express themselves:
But it isn’t only adolescent females that have a problem being seen as community leaders – seasoned female leaders still have difficulty being heard in Congo as well. Women’s groups have been unable to celebrate International Women’s Day due to lack of financial support, which limits their ability to raise awareness or carry out activities to promote women as leaders.
This year, however, International Medical Corps organized a separate event and invited government officials to meet with women’s associations and local groups in order to hear their questions and concerns. Government officials were educated on the issues female leaders face, and these officials promised to work further with the women’s groups in the future. Ms. Vanantie Bimwa, Executive Secretary of the Women’s Association for Development and Peace had this to say about the meeting:
“On this day, March 8th, International Women’s Day, the women of South Kivu, including those from the grassroots level association, got a real opportunity to talk, thanks the support of International Medical Corps which brought women association together. Usually, when we attend ceremonies, we cannot say what we think or ask the government about the progress for women’s development in our province. This time, we had our own activity supported by International Medical Corps where local government representatives were invited to listen to us and answer some of our questions. As a result of this activity, we have several working sessions planned with the Governor of the province of South Kivu to discuss the issue of the development for women.”
We thank you for your continued support in the Democratic Republic of Congo – with your help, we make a difference!
Three and a half years after the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region, International Medical Corps continues its work to support health system strengthening in Haiti.
With International Medical Corps, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) is piloting the “Agents de Santé Polyvalent,” or Multi-Purpose Health Worker, Program. This program replaces the previous mix of community-health worker initiatives from the government and various NGOs, putting in place a standardized education system supported by MSPP.
The current pilot program is located Les Cayes, a small city in the South Department. The program provides an intense and rigorous education program for the 29 participants from the region over the course of two years.
The first thirteen weeks of the program consist of lectures and presentations covering mathematics, physics, chemistry, communication, precautions, infection control, personal hygiene, community hygiene, environmental health, ethics and conduct, and community diagnosis. Following the lecture component, students then go to the field to practice what they have learned under supervision of MSPP staff.
As a part of this field visit, students must assess the community to determine what health issues exist. Following this assessment, they return to the community to provide information on the issues they encountered, including education on hygiene promotion and environmental hygiene.
International Medical Corps is proud to support MSPP and the future “Agents de Santé Polyvalent.” The Haitian government aims to eventually roll this program out countrywide, providing one health officer for every 1,000 Haitian people.
July 15, 2013 — International Medical Corps' work with drought victims spans many sectors, providing a well-rounded approach to assisting vulnerable communities.
In Ethiopia, our programs work to educate the population through local staff and volunteers, One volunteer, Azeb, is an engaging young woman. Quick to laugh, people warm to her easily and she reciprocates shyly but with confidence. At 25, Azeb is the leader of an ever-growing network of youth groups in Damut Pullasa, Wolayita who are trained by International Medical Corps to educate their communities, and the youth in particular, on sexual and reproductive health.
Azeb's group, which has grown from 30 to 150 members in just 6 months, meets bi-weekly and discusses issues related to young people’s health and wellbeing. Trained by International Medical Corps, Azeb leads sessions on sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, HIV/AIDs and more.
Azeb also acts as a “big sister” to some of her flock, who turn to her when things go wrong. She mentions a younger member of the group who, upon realizing that she was pregnant, turned to Azeb for help, recognizing the strength of the support system of which she was a part. Azeb helped the girl to understand her options and worked with her and her family to help her through the difficult time.
“Times,” says Azeb, “have changed...women are not seen as a thing now; we have equality.” This is one of the issues that she is eager to help her sisters with—to look to a future not only of marriage, but to make something of themselves. With International Medical Corps’ help, Azeb is learning the skills necessary to become a true leader for her community, as well as a role model for girls who sometimes feel lost or without choices.