VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Angelina Jolie and William Hague visit IRC programs for women in Congo
March 26, 2013 by The IRC
|UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague visit Nzolo camp, near Goma, March 2013. Photo: Crown Copyright/MOD/LA(Phot) Iggy Roberts|
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo - Yesterday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress Angelina Jolie visited a displacement camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where the International Rescue Committee is working to prevent violence against women and girls.
Camps like Nzulo and other makeshift settlements are often not a safe refuge for women and girls, who risk attack as they collect firewood or water, try to find assistance to support themselves and their families, or walk around at night.
While violence against women and girls is ever present in Congo, displacement over the past year has only exacerbated the problem. The IRC has seen a marked increase in violence against women and girls in North and South Kivu, peaking in September, when the number of cases reported was 190 percent higher than the 2011 monthly average.
How We Help
- The IRC provided life-saving care to more than 2,500 women and girls who have been raped or abused in the past year.
- We distributed 12,000 emergency kits for women over the past few months to enable them to wash in private and to reduce the risk at night-time. The kits include extra clothing and underwear, strips of reusable cloth for sanitary towels, soap and two wash buckets, flashlights, as wellas whistles they can use to signal for help if there’s danger.
- To reduce the amount of time women and girls spend collecting firewood, the IRC will begin distributing 2,500 fuel efficient stoves next month.
- 7 dedicated IRC teams provide lifesaving care to women and girls. As well as counseling and medical advice, survivors are given ‘post-rape kits,’ consisting of antibiotics, antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infection, and emergency contraception.
- We are providing emergency delivery kits to visibly pregnant women to ensure they are able to deliver their babies safely even if they are unable to reach a health center.
“Women and girls have been on the frontline of the crisis in Congo for too long,” says Elinor Raikes, the IRC’s deputy regional director.