On September 2, in Bukavu, the launch ceremony of the TUMAINI project, Health and Rights of Women, Adolescents and Children, took place, allowing the start of a partnership project between Panzi Foundation and the University of Montreal. Implemented by Panzi Foundation with the International Health Unit and the Hygeia Observatory of the University of Montreal, the TUMAINI project will support the activities of the Foundation and Panzi Hospital until 2027.
Born of the vision of Dr. Denis Mukwege and drawing on the expertise of the University of Montreal, this project will strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence and the capacity of Panzi Foundation in four health zones in South Kivu and three provinces in Burundi.
Funded by Canada, the TUMAINI project mobilizes several faculties of the University of Montreal and is supported by Lawyers Without Borders Canada and Global Strategies, to cover a beneficiary population of 2,745,741 people.
Welcomed by the Governor of the province of South Kivu and His Excellency the Ambassador of Canada, the launch ceremony took place at Panzi Foundation under the leadership of Dr. Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Valérie Amiraux, Vice-Rector of the University of Montreal, Ms. Karina-Dubois Nguyen, Director of the International Health Unit and Director of the TUMAINI project, and Professor Marie Hatem, Scientific Director of the project and Director of the Hygeia Observatory.
TUMAINI is the culmination of a history of humanistic encounters, commitment and cooperation. In 2017, Dr. Mukwege met Professor Marie Hatem in Panzi and laid the foundation for a collaboration that is destined to flourish. In 2019, Dr. Mukwege received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Montreal in Canada. That same year, Panzi Foundation partnered with the International Health Unit of the University of Montreal and the Hygeia Observatory to respond to an offer of funding from Global Affairs Canada, which was finally obtained in 2021: this is the beginning of the TUMAINI project and the hope of building a promising and more just future for the populations in the areas covered by the project, particularly for women, adolescent girls and children.
The TUMAINI project has three components: improving the delivery and management of health services, improving the accessibility of health services, and promoting research-based health care policies, legal frameworks, and services. In addition to supporting the fight against violence and the rehabilitation of survivors, the project will use operational research to scientifically determine the sustainability of the holistic model developed by Dr. Mukwege, the hospital, and Panzi Foundation.
With the ambition of transmitting the knowledge derived from the work of Panzi Foundation, this project also recalls the commitment of the University of Montreal, its International Health Unit and the Hygeia Observatory, beyond the research results. It underscores once again the fundamental nature of the work of Panzi Foundation, in a context where injustice and violence have been perpetrated for over 30 years and where hope is running out. Designed with innovative, sustainable approaches and implemented by a group of highly qualified partners, the TUMAINI project may well contribute to the change that will rekindle the flame of hope for the beneficiary populations.