International Medical Corps has been awarded $10 million 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) through the Bienvenue aux Changements dans la Communauté (BCC) program. As lead grantee, International Medical Corps will implement the program with partners Search for Common Ground and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs.
While providing a comprehensive and innovative program to prevent SGBV, International Medical Corps and its partners will utilize behavior change communication to impact social attitudes, practices and norms associated with SGBV in eastern DRC. The BCC program – designed to be fully integrated within International Medical Corps’ USAID-awarded Care, Access, Safety, and Empowerment (CASE) program to combat SGBV in DRC – seeks to contribute to ending the conflict in the region. The BCC program will be implemented in the same geographic areas as CASE and two additional locations; Kisangani and Bukavu.
Prioritizing respect for local culture, International Medical Corps will work with individuals and communities to identify behaviors and practices that are themselves forms of SGBV, or that prevent social cohesion. Once communities recognize these behaviors, practices and patterns, International Medical Corps will work with them, local leaders and organizations to facilitate recognition that addressing SGBV is in the best interest of all community members, and to develop alternative behaviors to prevent SGBV and promote non-violence. In order to engage both men and women in the process of identifying and changing negative behaviors, the BCC program will employ trained teams of one male and one female to work in the catchment area, as set out by CASE. BCC messaging will be seamlessly incorporated into health and support services offered under CASE and other initiatives throughout eastern DRC, as well as into many aspects of daily experience at the societal and community level.
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 41 in North Kivu, 42 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.