Mercy Corps is implementing a seven year UK government-funded program that will reach up to 1 million people in Goma and Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, with improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
The overall goal of the IMAGINE (Integrated Maji Infrastructure and Governance Initiative for Eastern Congo) program is to decrease diarrhea rates among children under five. This will be achieved using an integrated approach improving infrastructure, promoting effective behavior change, reinforcing market systems for water and sanitation services, and improving governance and community accountability of these systems.
IMAGINE is in many ways a unique and pioneering program not only for Mercy Corps, but for the whole development sector. It has set up the first public private partnership (PPP) in the water sector in DR Congo, established the first major partnership between an INGO and Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to implement construction works, successfully adapted the Care Group approach of hygiene promotion to an urban context, and created a WASH Gender Status Index that is adaptable and replicable in large WASH programs worldwide.
In order to capitalize on the rich experience gained through these innovative initiatives, IMAGINE has established research partnerships with leading global institutions, including Harvard University, the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
"IMAGINE is in many ways a unique and pioneering programme not only for Mercy Corps, but for the whole development sector." The expected outcome of the collaborative research projects is threefold:
to inform decision making within IMAGINE as the team adapts to a constantly changing context.
to document lessons learned and recommendations for future programming.
to bridge the academic-practitioner divide by publishing high quality articles in leading international journals drawing on evidence from Mercy Corps’ IMAGINE program.