The Panzi Foundation announces the launch of a holistic care project for the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the highlands of Kalehe, South Kivu province.
The Kalehe highlands have been a high-risk area for human rights violations since the outbreak of armed conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Endowed with inestimable mining potential, this area is home to various armed groups responsible for numerous crimes, including cases of rape and sexual violence.
Civil society actors in the area regularly warn of the unavailability of services for survivors of sexual violence. While the perpetration of sexual violence has not decreased, several non-governmental organizations ceased operating in the region as a result of the prevailing insecurity.
Panzi Foundation remains committed to the survivors and communities of Kalehe, and primarily implements its interventions in the area through Bulenga Hospital – one of Panzi’s “One Stop Centers” — which is in the far north of the territory. Through this project, Panzi’s activities will expand in the territory to the towns of Numbi, Shanje, and Lumbishi.
Over the past several years, Bulenga Hospital has also organized mobile clinic missions in the high plateaux, in order to respond to the need for medical and psychological care for survivors and patients suffering from gynaecological pathologies. Despite these efforts, the needs require the availability of dedicated local teams trained in holistic care.
Following an evaluative study and contextual analysis in the area, Panzi Foundation has set up a project to provide ongoing care for survivors, by trained local service providers and within local structures.
Integrating a training and awareness-raising dimension, this project aims to leave the community with skills that will perpetuate the handling of cases of gender-based violence.
The project is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Norwegian Church Aid.
Photo : Esther Nsapu