On August 11, 2009, in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced over $18 million in total new funding to support U.S. Government efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC.
The pledge includes a new $7 million
USAID program in North and South Kivu provinces – the areas most affected by the brutal use of rape and sexual violence in the context of ongoing armed conflict, insecurity, and population displacement. This three-year program will focus on providing medical care, counseling, economic assistance, and legal support to an anticipated 10,000 vulnerable women and girls in the Kivus.
An additional $11 million will allow the U.S. Government to expand efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC. These resources will be used to fund new programs, as well as continue ongoing activities in eastern DRC, deepening the reach of current efforts within the most severely affected provinces to assist remote and vulnerable populations. Technology experts will work to equip women and front-line workers with mobile devices to report abuse and share information on treatment and legal options. In support of USAID and other USG programs, the Department of Defense through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) will soon deploy an assessment team to determine how to best assist survivors; such assistance could potentially include refurbishment of medical centers and shelters in remote areas of the country. AFRICOM will also provide sensitivity training on sexual violence and legal seminars that contribute to the professionalization of the Congolese military. In Goma, Secretary Clinton also announced a new partnership with the Norwegian government to upgrade a medical facility in North Kivu to provide better treatment to survivors of sexual violence.
Protection of civilians, particularly to prevent sexual violence, is critical. The total announcement includes $2.9 million to recruit and train female police officers to investigate rape and interview survivors of violence against women.
The USG is a leading bilateral donor in the DRC in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence and funds activities throughout the country, particularly in North Kivu, South Kivu, Orientale, Maniema and Katanga provinces. USG-supported programs have assisted more than 100,000 survivors since 2002. These programs fund medical care and treatment, counseling and family mediation, legal aid, and social and economic reintegration services to rape survivors.
The USG’s priorities are bringing an end to this conflict, protecting basic human rights, and relieving suffering. We are committed to supporting survivors and ensuring that they have access to medical treatment, justice, education and economic opportunities.