The main region being supported is the Great Lakes area of Central Africa where many countries are affected by past or present civil wars, such as DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. Local women’s rights organisations have very few resources but nonetheless provide essential assistance for survivors and their families. To strengthen their work and promote local approaches to providing aid, medica mondiale established its Grant Program, providing carefully chosen local partners with finances and expert advice. At least 80 per cent of the grant program is designated for this region. In 2016, 8 women's rights organisations benefited from support to help them supply and advise survivors of sexualised and gender-specific violence.

Sexualised violence against women and girls in the Great Lakes area of Central Africa

  • UN figures report 1,244 women being raped across DR Congo in the three months from January to March 2010 alone. The International Rescue Committee has documented 40,000 cases of gender-specific violence in DR Congo from 2003 to 2007. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher.
  • One in four raped women in DR Congo is under 18 years of age. One in a hundred becomes pregnant because of the rape. One in ten raped women is infected with HIV.
  • In DR Congo most of the women are attacked while out in the fields or are forcibly abducted from their homes. The perpetrators are generally members of the Congolese army, militias, or rebel groups but also civilians. What they have in common is their brutality. Many victims are abducted, sometimes raped repeatedly for weeks on end, and then abandoned in a severely injured state
  • The survivors of the violence only seldom find medical, psychological or material support because social and health services are almost entirely non-existent, particularly in the crisis regions in the east of DR Congo. And especially in rural areas there is a shortage of female doctors and nursing staff. The women and girls often suffer severe injuries, which make it difficult for them to travel to the nearest clinic. In addition, most of them are too poor to pay for transport, medicines or treatment.
  • Sexualised wartime violence was employed in Ruanda as a tactic for spreading fear and for demonstrating power. According to the United Nations children’s organisation UNICEF, the estimated number of raped women and girls lies somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 – precise figures are not known. Most of them were murdered after they were raped, bur some of the survivors became unwilling mothers as a result of the acts of sexualised violence; official estimates range from 2000 to 5000 children, the number of unreported cases is undoubtedly much higher.
  • In many villages in North-Uganda, traditional customs forbid women to own property.
  • Since the beginning of the military conflicts in Uganda in the early 1980s, many young women and girls have been kidnapped, raped and sexually enslaved. For months, in some cases years, they were held prisoner by the rebels and forced to both serve them sexually and to kill.
  • Girls and young women in Uganda who were repeatedly raped, are seen by their families as "unclean" and are often ostracised. In addition, many of the young women in the rebel camps gave birth to children as a consequence of repeated rape. These children often experience both a difficult and traumatic relationship with their mother and rejection by their wider families and communities.

Practical Examples:

So far, in 2018 30 counsellors working with six partner organisations of medica mondiale have been trained by the psychosocial experts in South Kivu.

Almost 850 awareness-raising sessions against sexualised violence were conducted by our Congolese partner organisation AFPDE in 2018. More than 25,000 men, women and children participated.

The organization EPF provided 20 girls with school fees and materials in 2018.

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Partner organisations:
Burundi: Maison Marthe Robin, SFBSP, MUKENYEZI MENYA, Association NTURENGAHO
DR Congo: ADDF, PAIF; South Kivu programme: AFPDE, EPF, HAM, La Floraison, RAPI, RFDP
Rwanda: SEVOTA
Uganda: FOWAC, MEMPROW

Project regions:

Burundi: Bujumbura, provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza
DR Congo: provinces of North and South Kivu
Rwanda: Muhanga, Kirehe, Kigali
Uganda: districts of Apac, Nebbi, Kitgum and Lamwo

Project priorities:

  • provide medical, psychosocial and socio-economic support for survivors of sexualised violence and their children
  • prevent sexualised violence in communities and schools
  • engage in community work to combat domestic violence
  • offer training and organisational development courses for women’s organisations

Financing:
Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ)
Fondation Smartpeace
Medicor Foundation
Fürsorge und Bildungsstiftung
Anne-Marie Schindler Foundation
Sigrid Rausing Trust
Donations/own resources

Source: annual report 2018

Overview of all partner organisations of medica mondiale

25 years of medica mondiale – an overview