DR Congo

DR Congo: Fighting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new $7 million project to assist survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the Eastern DRC at a program in the Sultani Hotel in Kinshasa on December 10.

The program, entitled "ESPOIR" or "Ending Sexual Violence by Promoting Opportunities and Individual Rights, is part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's commitment to help fight SGBV in the DRC, a commitment announced during her visit to Kinshasa and Goma in August 2009. ESPOIR is administered by USAID and implemented by the International Rescue Committee, a U.S. NGO, and includes support for clinics, hospitals, community centers for women and children, and mental health services through partnerships with seven Congolese NGOs and 65 health facilities in North and South Kivu provinces. A total of 45 community-based groups in the targeted provinces will also receive assistance to help individuals and families regain their livelihoods.

"Through this three-year program we are launching today, nearly 15,000 vulnerable girls and women will receive assistance in the provinces of North and South Kivu," Ambassador William J. Garvelink said during his remarks in announcing the launching of ESPOIR. "To date, the United States has allocated more than $20 million to combat sexual violence in the DRC."