Sexual and gender-based violence in the East : progress in the fightDec 9, 2016
December 8th, 2016, the Ministry of Women, Family and Children, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Canada, UNDP, UNFPA, MONUSCO and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) have organised the fourth meeting of the steering committee of the fight against sexual violences program “TUPINGE UBAKAJI”.
Funded to the tune of $18 million for a five years period by the Canadian government, the Programme to Combat Impunity, Support Victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Empowerment of Women in the East of the DRC took stock of its four years of life. This was an opportunity to review the results achieved during 2016 as well as to validate the Programme's annual work plan for 2017.
Overall, the Programme recognises positive outcomes and their impact is perceptible in the lives and well-being of both direct and indirect beneficiaries. To its credit for 2106, it should be noted that:
- 1263 cases of gender-based sexual violence victims were referred to the courts by legal clinics and counselling offices
- 18 community centres made up of religious and traditional leaders, heads of families, teachers and students are functional
- 4823 survivors were supported by the medical and psychosocial plan
- 1712 people including 1198 victims of sexual and gender-based violence have benefitted from socio-economic reinsertion packages
- 665 minor victims were re-enrolled.
The “TUPINGE UBAKAJI” program marks a new momentum in the care of victims of gender-based violence by supporting prevention through the communication strategy for social behaviour change and the improvement of the quality of response given to the victims.
This program, implemented in five provinces: North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Bandudu and Kinshasa, is distinguished by its holistic approach in its interventions, but equally by the active involvement of the Government through the national and provincial ministries and its technical services, said the UNDP Country Director.
At the opening of the Steering Committee’s work, the Canadian Ambassador of the DRC, Ms. Ginette Martin, welcomed the Congolese Government’s involvement in its fight in reversing the prevalence of sexual violence based on gender. She also stressed the need for ownership of this project by giving priority to the participation of women and young girls in activities that contribute to the growth and development of the country.
Speaking on behalf of all United Nations agencies involved in the implementation of this program, Mrs. Priya Gajraj, UNDP Country Director, has underlined that “We must build on the achievements and maintain the ambition of this joint program that tackles the root causes of the strong prevalence of sexual violence based on gender”.
To achieve this, the major innovations are planned for the year 2017, in particular:
- The generalisation of “ONE STOP CENTER” to increase the attendance of the services by the victims and to improve the care
- The establishment of a mobile legal clinic system with the support of the UNV program to accelerate the rate of attendance of free access justice services
- The reinforcement of the communication and visibility of the achievements of the program that could constitute a strategy of perpetuation of gains.
The steering committee was chaired by the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Priya Gajraj, Country Director of the UNDP in the DRC and Ginette Martin, the Canadian Ambassador to the DRC. Equally present were the provincial ministers of gender of North Kivu and of Ituri, the heads of UNFPA, UNESCO, BNCUDH and delegates of the Congolese National Police and technical administrations. The work has been at the heart of the 16 days of activism of the global campaign against gender-based violences launched on November 25th.
Aude Mbenzu (Trainee)
Article translated by Mai Gamaleldeen