MSN/MPS Program, School of Nursing & School of Public Health
Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities of Village Health Workers in Providing Services to Survivors of Sexual Violence in DRC
Conference: Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, International
The overall goal of the study is to build the science base for large-scale implementation of economic programs to improve the health of women survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). The last decade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen the use of rape as a weapon of war, where rebels and soldiers subject women and girls to brutalizing attacks, rape, torture, and mutilation. Survivors of rape are often further traumatized by infections, disease, poverty, stigma and social isolation. The study objective is to test the effectiveness of an innovative, village-led microfinance program on SGBV survivor’s health, household economic stability, and reintegration to family and village. Our preliminary evidence indicates that a village-led microfinance program improves Congolese women’s health and household economic stability, through increased funds to purchase food, housing and medication and to pay school fees for children. Survivors also report a reduction in the negative health impacts of chronic stress, stigma and trauma associated with SGBV because they are once again productive family and village members. As a result of our preliminary work, our microfinance-academic research collaboration is conducting a five-year experimental trial using mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative techniques). In this trial, 10 villages in the Ngweshe Chiefdom in the Walungu Territory in South Kivu DRC will be randomized to either the microfinance intervention (n=5) or delayed control (n=5) group. Outcomes will be measured at the individual and household levels in both intervention and control villages. We estimate 50 household in each of the intervention and control villages will participate for a total of 500 households. Measurement of outcomes in each village will be collected at baseline and 3, 6, 12 and 18-months post-baseline assessment.