IMA World Health/Crystal Stafford
MA’s Ushindi project celebrated the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence with a delegation from the U.S. Agency for International Development in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo this week. Kendra Schoenholz, Deputy Director of USAID/DRC, and Zeric Smith, USAID Director of Eastern Congo Transition Objective Office, traveled to Goma on Monday to celebrate the launch of a new code of conduct that aims to reduce SGBV in schools.
“With our work with the government and our partners, such as IMA World Health, we are committed to reducing sexually-based violence here in Congo,” Schoenholz said.
Representatives from the country’s ministries of justice, gender and education, women’s and youth groups, and partner organizations attended the event, hosted by Ushindi, at the Maison de la Femme. The code of conduct will be distributed to schools across DRC.
“We are doing important, innovative work with Ushindi at this moment,” Smith said. “They give medical services … and psychosocial support to help them reintegrate in their communities. Ushindi is also working to reintegrate victims in their communities economically. That is very important because their value and their capacity lends to their ability to contribute economically. Ushindi is also currently working on innovations to address the men who are often victims of sexual violence.”
The following day Ushindi hosted an even larger event celebrating the launch with its partners and volunteer network, drawing a crowd of more than 400. After the event, Ushindi and its partners traveled to a school in Karisimbi Health Zone to distribute its first code of conduct.