Some of the highlights from Bennett’s presentation include the newly implemented psychosocial approach Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT. He says the approach has shown promising results. Further research indicates Village Savings and Loan Associations help survivors, especially women, to rejoin their communities through economic empowerment. VSLAs consist of small groups of villagers that come together and save money to be used for small loans taken from these savings.
In a country marred by conflict and instability, where SGBV is perpetrated not only by armed groups but also by community members, the complexity of the issue requires a multipronged approach. The Ushindi program has integrated these factors into its approach to addressing SGBV because of the serious medical,psychological, and socioeconomic outcomes it has for survivors and communities.
“The unique nature of the program is that it is a four-component, comprehensive model,” Bennett said. “Most other programs that we’ve seen in the literature focus on fewer components.”
Although addressing the issue from a political, security and social standpoint is important so is the support, healing and reintegration of its survivors. Sharing the findings from these studies and documenting the successes of a comprehensive model will go a long way in serving survivors in DRC as well as in other, similarly affected areas.
IMA’s Senior Technical Director, Mary Linehan, will also be presenting the research findings on Sept. 25 at a Gender-Based Violence Task Force of the Interagency Gender Working Group event in Washington D.C. Hosted by the Population Reference Bureau, the panel will consider the role of faith-based organizations, like IMA, in this work.
The hope is that through sharing knowledge and research, we can better serve these vulnerable populations and give them the health, healing and well-being that they desperately need and rightfully deserve.
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