Violence against civilians is rampant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s War. Women and girls are raped on a daily basis and their life is determined by the fear of being victimized. The women and girls, who have survived rape are often left stigmatized and physically and psychological injured for life.
From January to March 2009 vivo has trained nurses doctors and social assistants from various health organisations and state institutions in NET. Among the 31 participants was staff from the Panzi Referral Hospital, Sosame Psychiatric Hospital, the International Rescue Committee and V-Day, located in the South and North Kivus, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. vivo visited most of the course participants again in April 2009 to follow-up the training and provide supervision. We were glad to see, that the participants were implementing NET therapies and provided much need psychosocial support to survivors of violence.
All participants brought a wealth of experience on working with victims of gender-based violence to the 21-day workshop, as well as a genuine interest in understanding and mastering a trauma-focussed counselling technique. Discussions were lively and due to the seniority and curiosity of participants much learning was enabled on all sides.
A first supervision followed suit, where we visited our trainees at the various places of work, i.e. Bunyakiri, several service provision points in Bukavu, Minerva and Goma. We left our first DRC batch with a sense of pride about their achievements, in fact this was also felt by the trainees themselves; they also were greatly motivated to get started with their work with traumatised patients.
A second supervision visit followed towards the end of April and the momentum to implement trauma-focused therapy in the DRC could be reinforced. The former training participants had started to deliver NET and to see first successes. Once again vivo was touched by the counsellors’ courage to continue their work in the dangerous ‘red zones’ of the Eastern DRC. Their commitment to assist survivors of violence is a deeply impressing sign of hope for the region. vivo is therefore currently seeking ways to continue its work in the Eastern DRC.