Sexual violence in CAR : Turning suffering into strength

11/26/2020

The multidisciplinary treatment centre, based on the model developed in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege, officially opened on 24 November, a ceremony attended by the Central African Republic’s Minister of Health, the French Ambassador in Bangui and all the partners [1] of the NENGO (meaning “dignity” in Sango) project. 

After several months of preparation, the staff of the gynaecology-obstetrics department and maternity ward of the Amitié Sino-Centrafricaine teaching hospital complex (Hôpital de l’Amitié) and of the Association of Women Lawyers of the Central African Republic, with the support of a consortium of partnering organisations worldwide, admitted the first patients, victims of sexual and gender-based violence, for multidisciplinary treatment as part of the NENGO project.

This ambitious, four-year project is backed by a total of 5.4 million euros, with 4.2 million euros coming from France through the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency), and 1.2 million euros from the Fondation Pierre Fabre. This project will make it possible to treat 3,240 victims of sexual and gender-based violence in Bangui and the provinces, giving them access to comprehensive, high-quality care through a coordinated, comprehensive course of treatment and support (medical, psychosocial, legal and socioeconomic). This concept has become a reality through the establishment of a “one-stop” treatment location at the Amitié Sino-Centrafricaine teaching hospital complex (Hôpital de l’Amitié) and the Association of Women Lawyers of the Central African Republic in Bangui. This project will also be part of prevention efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence in the country and is based on South-South skills transfer between Congolese actors and Central African stakeholders. It will strengthen the service capacities of the Amitié Sino-Centrafricaine teaching hospital complex (Hôpital de l’Amitié) and the Association of Women Lawyers of the Central African Republic, two structures that already serve as victim referral sites.

To help cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agence Française de Développement provided an additional 1.2 million euros to boost the initial budget of 4.2 million euros, the objective being to redevelop the water supply system, modernise the latrines, facilitate management of the hospital’s medical waste, purchase equipment, and provide training in the appropriate hygiene protocols so as to significantly improve overall hygiene at the centre, now and over the long term.

This opening ceremony marks the start of sixteen days of initiatives and events in Bangui to raise awareness about sexual and gender-based violence, from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through 10 December (Human Rights Day). All the NENGO project partners will be proactively promoting the cause for these 16 days, including through a photo exhibition and two films to be screened at Bangui’s Alliance Française.

[1] Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Cooperation, the Ministry of Health and Population, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Family and Child Protection, the Fondation Pierre Fabre, the Panzi DRC Foundation, the Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation, the Institut Francophone pour la Justice et la Démocratie, Agence Française de Développement, the Amitié Sino-Centrafricaine teaching hospital complex (Hôpital de l’Amitié) and the Association of Women Lawyers of the Central African Republic.

Photos of the opening

Crédits: French Embassy in CAR

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