Mawazo Biteko is a survivor of gender-based violence and participant of the USAID Counter Gender-Based Violence (Tushinde Ujeuri) project in the DRC. [Credit: Paul Jeffrey for IMA]

GBV survivors build peace through community-based trauma healing and alternative dispute resolution in the DRC

  • Sep 20, 2022

Since 2017, the USAID-funded IMA World Health Counter Gender-Based Violence (Tushinde Ujeuri) project has made significant strides in reintegrating gender-based violence (GBV) survivors into communities within the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) North and South Kivu provinces. As part of the project’s efforts to prevent and respond to GBV and to provide holistic care to survivors in this conflict-affected area, IMA World Health and our partners encourage and facilitate survivors’ participation in peace building activities such as community-based trauma healing (CBTH) and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). To date, 23,350 trauma survivors and other members of the community have participated in CBTH, and 5,145 cases of conflict have been registered for ADR.

Community-based trauma healing aims to break down barriers contributing to conflict, reduce stigma and stereotypes, and build empathy as a key principle of conflict transformation and social cohesion. Through community-trauma healing sessions, CBTH addresses conflict resulting from rape, indigenous conflict, internal displacement, and inheritance conflicts, among other local conflicts. Since the project’s inception, 1,083 trauma healing sessions have been organized.

In collaboration with technical partner American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI), IMA also provides ADR services through the Tushinde project for communities and individuals to pursue restorative justice tools, rebuild confidence between conflicting parties and enhance social cohesion and lasting peace. With the aim of long-lasting and community-based judicial and restorative efforts, IMA and ABA-ROLI have registered 4,217 GBV-related disputes and resolved 2,435 cases.

Through the Tushinde project and these peace building initiatives, GBV survivors are helping themselves and their communities to heal and thereby reduce the prevalence of GBV in the future.

This blog was authored by Bethlehem Zewdu, IMA Senior Program Associate for East, Central and Southern Africa.