Helping to provide skills to effect change within communities
Health, poverty, and community development are inseparable. IMA cannot achieve its vision of health, healing, and well-being for all without building healthier communities that achieve this goal.
IMA supports community development by helping provide individuals and community groups with the skills and enabling environment they need to effect change within their communities. This takes many shapes and forms within IMA programs. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, IMA’s programs build the capacity of volunteer Relais Communautaire to design and deliver community-sensitive and sustainable health programs that don’t create an overwhelming time or paper work burden for them.
Common across all IMA programs is working closely with community members themselves to identify the health challenges they face and the available solutions to address those problems. In instances where IMA encounters non-health challenges, it works closely with community leaders to identify possible solutions and access other programs and resources to address these issues. IMA’s Ushindi project increases income generating activities for women and community members to reduce poverty as a means to improved health and well-being.
In instances where IMA encounters non-health challenges, it works closely with community leaders to identify possible solutions and access other resources to address these issues. IMA’s Ushindi project, for example, increases income generating activities for women to reduce poverty as a means to improved health and well-being.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP)
IMA strengthens community and health facility linkages as part of the DFID-funded ASSP project in the DRC. The project’s goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality among women and children under five. ASSP’s community health endowment program helps increase community support and buy in for health facility services, assisting communities to establish community health endowments to reduce user fees for the most vulnerable. IMA is supporting health facility staff and community groups to share messages about the project and increase participation of communities. IMA is helping reduce user fees and increase community health engagement for the project, creating a potentially sustainable platform for community health financing in the future.
Ushindi Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Treatment and Prevention Project
IMA ensures female survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) access holistic, community-supported prevention and support services. As part of the project’s approach, IMA links SGBV survivors to medical, legal, economic, and psychosocial counseling and support services in their communities. During 2013, the USAID-funded Ushindi project counseled more than 15,000 survivors, providing economic support via Village Savings and Loans Associations to nearly 13,000 people. Ushindi activities benefit both the women themselves and the community more broadly, by improving social norms and increasing access to income generating activities for all.
Women’s Leadership Project
The Women’s Leadership Project, also funded by USAID, was designed and implemented as a two-year add-on (2013-2014) to Ushindi to promote women’s empowerment through better control of their reproductive rights, as well as community outreach on women’s rights and good governance and leadership. The project contributes to greater community development around a variety of important issues. Through the project, more than 1,100 couples were identified as “Champion Couples” to serve as social mobilizers to promote gender equality, women’s leadership, family planning, and birth spacing.