First Interim Report, August 2015

Mother with child after cesarean surgery (The child is not from a rape)
Mother with child after cesarean surgery (The child is not from a rape)

1.              Current situation and social analyses

Due to the situation in Eastern Congo – as in the rest of the country – the challenges of the „Femmes Engagées pour la Promotion de la Santé Intégral“ (FEPSI) are increasing because of shifting perpetrator profiles: it is not only armed rebels and Congolese military using sexual violence as strategic war instrument to destabilize society. Also average men started to rape sisters in law, nieces, women and children living in their neighbourhood. The number of assaults remains therefore on a high level.

Another problem: internally displaced people of neighbouring regions are looking for shelter in the Butembo area, in FEPSIs intervention zone (Butembo, territories of Lubero and Beni), fleeing rebel attacks in their villages.

As there is no improvement in sight, FEPSI hospital must strengthen and optimise their capacities – beds, water and hygiene, diagnoses etc. – to be able to take care of their patients, foremost the disadvantaged ones treated free of charge: survivors of sexual violence, HIV-positive and Aids infected people as well as above mentioned internally displaced people. Free treatment includes as well a social and economic reintegration of survivors of sexual violence and their children in their villages of origin, as well as the sensitization of FEPSI patients and population outside the hospital on the following topics: nutrition, family planning, sexual and gender based violence, sexually transmitted diseases as HIV/ Aids, health in general and hygiene. Secondly, the number of private patients must be increased, as it is their payment that will pay for FEPSIs path to full financial independence.

In Congolese society, women and children rights are only weakly developed. Women don’t have any decisive power in their own families and are subordinates to their husband: in questions of nutrition, family planning, education of their children, finances and hygiene – women are rarely heard. But especially in the former, the impact of the decisions taken is lasting on their shoulders; six children per household is average – and some men are head of more then one households. This is not only psychologically and physically a high burden for women to cope with; also financially it means great difficulties because only in rare cases families have sufficient funds for a balanced nutrition, a proper education of their children or medical treatments.

During conversations with Congolese women – all FEPSI patients – it was clear: women are following their husband’s instructions. If he wants sexual intercourse – she agrees. She agrees not because she wants to but because she is afraid to be beaten or banned.

That is why sensitization in this project will be addressed to more and more men: husbands and fathers. As they are the decisions makers in families and society; men are carrying an important role in promoting social change processes. 

2.              Initial point & current internal displacement

Eastern Congo – named “world capital of sexual violence” and “most dangerous region for women in the world” by former UN-Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margrit Wallstrom – has been scenery for wars and violence for decades: according to estimations Eastern Congo counts 1.2 million internally displaced people, 400,000 women are sexually violated each year as UN-organisations quote.

During August 2015 it was mainly the rebel groups “Mayi Mayi Simba” and “Mayi Mayi Yira” that are causing insecurities in the project intervention zone; more precise in the region of Manguredjipa (Lubero territory). This region is of particular economic interests for many Congolese and international groups, because it is very rich in mineral resources

The number of internally displaced people in the territories of Lubero and Beni has therefore increased: until end of July 2015 their number went up to 287,550 people since January 2009 – and still increases each month. Most of them find shelter with host families, sharing their own limited means with strangers. People survive but exist only on a very severe level.

From Rutshuru territory, UN-OCHA reports 4,200 internally displaced people in August 2015 to Lubero; fights between FDLR and FARDC mean insecurity and threat for the population in this region.

3.          Status of the project

One objective of the above-mentioned project is the improvement of the health of Children and their mothers in Butembo and its periphery. An enlargement of hospital space, a quality improvement of medical and psychological treatment and sensitization on balanced nutrition shall reach this objective. The beneficiaries of FEPSI are mostly women and children, innocent victims of a too long lasting war.

There is three results named in the project:

a)    Hospital space is enlarged, water depots are improved.

b)    Quality of medical and psychological services has enhanced.

c)    Nutritional knowledge of patients has developed.

4.          Perspective

National elections in November 2016 could change the situation in the country. It cannot be foreseen today how the Congolese population will act during these elections, their preparation and a probable outcome.

Purchased building land
Purchased building land