Ushindi, which means “we overcome” in Swahili, takes a holistic approach to addressing sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Crystal Stafford/IMA World Health)
Ushindi, which means “we overcome” in Swahili, takes a holistic approach to addressing sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Crystal Stafford/IMA World Health)
$20 million | USAID | 2010–2017

Ushindi, which means “we overcome” in Swahili, takes a holistic approach to addressing sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Coordinating a range of interventions—medical, legal, psychosocial and economic—Ushindi increases access to timely and quality services for survivors as well as individuals and communities affected by SGBV, and reduces the vulnerability of individuals to future acts of abuse and violence. The project has trained more than 3,700 service providers, involving 1,186 health clinics in vulnerable, conflict-affected communities. To date, more than 26,000 people have received comprehensive care through the program.

USAID reports show Ushindi reached about four times as many survivors as projects with similar funding levels and timeframes. As a result, this year Ushindi received an 18-month extension to conduct in-depth research on the project’s implementation model and to develop a readily accessible package for USAID to implement high-quality SGBV interventions in new areas. Through this extension phase, IMA will pilot this new package, including cognitive processing therapy-based psychotherapy, in three new health zones to present evidence of efficacy and cost and other practical considerations for scale up.

One hallmark of Ushindi is our local implementing partners, who have an extensive history of providing services to victims of SGBV in DRC. In the past five years, Heal Africa has received visitors including U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Panzi Foundation’s CEO Dr. Denis Mukwege has been three times nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to support survivors of SGBV and was listed as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in May 2016. The Program for Promotion of Primary Health Care, or PPSSP, is a small faith-based organization with a commanding presence in North Kivu province, highly effective at community level interventions. Additional partners rounding out the interventions included CARE, Children’s Voice, SAVE and the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative.

Successes

  • 26,118 individuals have received Ushindi services to date
  • 1,186 clinics in conflict-affected communities are equipped to provide SGBV support
  • 3,700 service providers have been trained to provide SGBV services