The Panzi Foundation was jointly created in 2008 by Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Hospital colleagues and supporters. The foundation was established with the specific aim to support the ongoing work of the hospital and improve outreach services to rural clinics and communities. Building on the work of the Panzi Hospital, the foundation works to promote basic quality health care for marginalized populations. In particular it aims to improve access to and the quality of maternal and reproductive health, promote and encourage the application of women’s rights and gender equality and prevent violence against women and children.
Projects undertaken by the Panzi Foundation seek to support survivors of rape and sexual violence to rebuild their lives and those of their communities. Some projects include
The City of Joy
The City of Joy is an initiative supported by the international movement V-DAY. It will hold a special place in the region and serve as a leadership and skills training centre with the message: “From Pain to Power”. The City of Joy focuses on leadership training and development for women activists to continue the struggle for women’s rights and justice for survivors.
Financial Support: V-Day and Unicef
Project Implementation: Panzi Foundation DRC, V-Day
Maison Dorcas is a transit and safety house for survivors of violence or those under long-or medium-term care for fistula and incontinence healing. Women receive training in literacy and numeracy, small business management and other skills aimed at improving livelihood. In addition, women benefit from continuous psychosocial and medical care, including group and individual therapy. The transit house partners with local women’s associations and cooperatives to provide assistance with family mediation and micro-credit.
The Panzi Foundation is currently establishing three other houses in zones highly affected by conflicts. These will be focussed on areas with high numbers of survivors and near hospitals still receiving large numbers of recent survivors. These transit-safe houses provide women with a safe environment in order to heal and learn new skills for their eventual community and/or family reintegration.
Financial Support: PMU, UNICEF, NCA, and Stephen Lewis Foundation
Project Implementation: NCA, PMU, Panzi Foundation USA, Panzi Foundation DRC
The USHINDI Project in Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda
USHINDI is the Swahili word for victory, and the project focuses on Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda health zones areas in South Kivu. These areas have a high incidence of sexual violence, and few programs are meeting the needs of survivors there due to insecurity and inaccessibility. The project takes a holistic approach including medical, psychosocial, legal and economic support for survivors of violence and children born of rape. Specialised psychosocial assistance and medical care is provided to survivors and the project supplies medicines to a number of health posts in the remote areas of Mwenga, Kitutu and Shabunda. Activities involve training of community leaders, providers of health care, police and paralegals, social assistants, and community mobilizers. Legal advice, microfinance services and literacy training will also be offered to women through the USHINDI program.
Through community mobilization against domestic violence and training of local leaders, communities are expected to improve their capacity of identifying and responding to cases of gender based violence.
This project started in 2010 with financing from USAID and will run over five years in nine health zones in Eastern DRC. Panzi Foundation and HEAL Africa are the implementers of the project in South Kivu.
Financial Support: USAID
Project Implementation: Panzi Foundation DRC, IMA World Health
Panzi Foundation DRC is also involved in other projects such as mobile clinics, justice and legal advice, mental health initiatives and support for health centres outside of Bukavu.