International Medical Corps has been awarded a $16.1 million, five-year, cooperative grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As lead grantee, International Medical Corps will implement the Care, Access, Safety and Empowerment (CASE) project, with support from Cooperazione Internazionale and the American Bar Association.
The CASE funding is part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement of $17 million to address SGBV in the DRC during her August 2009 visit to the country. While there, Secretary Clinton noted, “The challenge of sexual violence in conflict cannot and should not be separated from the broader security issues confronting this international community. It is time for all of us to assume our responsibility to go beyond condemning this behavior, to taking concrete steps to end it, to make it socially unacceptable, to recognize it is not cultural; it is criminal. And the more we say that over and over and over again, the more we will change attitudes, create peer pressure, and the conditions for the elimination of this violation.”
Through CASE, International Medical Corps will increase access to and quality of medical and psychosocial services for SGBV survivors and build local capacity to reduce vulnerability to future acts of violence in eastern DRC. Through the Care Group model, International Medical Corps will work within existing community structures to ensure timely access to integrated quality SGBV care and services. As part of a holistic approach to strengthening local communities, International Medical Corps will also work to educate community-based groups on preventing SGBV. In addition, community-based groups in targeted provinces will receive assistance to help individuals and families affected by SGBV to regain their livelihoods.
International Medical Corps has worked in the DRC since 1999 to provide health care, nutrition, food security, SGBV prevention and treatment, and water/sanitation services. In many remote areas of North and South Kivu Provinces, International Medical Corps is the only international NGO that has maintained a permanent presence. Today, International Medical Corps supports 85 health facilities in the DRC, including forty-two in North Kivu, forty-one in South Kivu, and two in Maniema. In total, International Medical Corps has served more than one million people in Congo, 80 percent of them displaced by war.