Skip to content

This Ford Foundation funded project “Realising the Right to Health Care” (2008 – 2010) advocated for and supported a radical reorientation of health care for sexual assault survivors in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Health services for survivors of sexual assault typically follow medico-legal models and place emphasis on evidence collection rather than the psychosocial needs of survivors. High-quality, appropriate health services can also exercise a critical role in reducing all health-related harms linked to sexual violence. The Realising the Right to Health Care programme was developed as a way to advocate for and introduce a radical reorientation of health care for survivors of sexual assault, which would be aimed at meeting survivors’ psychological, social and physical health and legal needs, through provision of services staffed by appropriately trained providers.

With funding from the Ford Foundation the SVRI, in partnership with regional colleagues, supported processes in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria, to develop and improve health sector responses to rape survivors both immediately after rape and in the longer term, and to promote an appropriate and effective interface between the health, police and justice sectors. This project also helped the SVRI to support ad hoc requests for assistance in the region including requests from Ethiopia, Senegal, and Liberia.

This project raised awareness among medico-legal forensic sexual assault educators, policy makers, service providers and women’s advocates, of the disjuncture between services provided and survivors needs. It also disseminated examples of good practice in policy and training related to sexual assault care and promoted the adaptation and replication of good practice in training and policy for sexual assault care internationally with a developing country focus, adapting and developing a training programme for health care workers in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Project Partners

  • Ford Foundation
  • South African Medical Research Council
  • Population Council
  • Carnegie Gender Equity Initiative (Nigeria)
  • IntraHealth International (Rwanda)
  • ICAP at Columbia University (Rwanda)
  • Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care
  • Ministry of Health Rwanda
  • Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria
  • University of Jos
  • US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
SVRI, & SAMRC. (2009). Zimbabwe training report: African regional training Programme for care and support of sexual assault survivors. Management of sexual violence workshop. Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Zimbabwe.
Ajema, C., & Valai, M. (2008). Workshop report on medico-legal responses to sexual violence: Strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence through multi-disciplinary collaboration among organizations and partners in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Medico-legal convening in response to sexual violence, Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, 2-5 June 2008. (2008, June 2). Sexual Violence Research Initiative.
Back To Top