What do you mean when you state that rape and sexual violence are used as a tactic of war in conflicts around the world?

There is growing evidence and recognition that conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is not random or opportunistic. It is a strategy used by armed groups fighting in conflicts worldwide.  Civilians — and particularly women and girls — are being targeted with sexual violence, used as a weapon of war, for a range of reasons: to persecute and destroy an ethnic group, as a ‘reward’ for combatants, or for financial gain. Sexual violence is being used to terrorise civilians, inflict trauma, and humiliate communities. CRSV may lead to displacements of community members, abandonment of the victims, and disintegration of society.

 What are the consequences of conflict related sexual violence (CRSV)? 

The consequences of CRSV go far beyond individual suffering. Sexual violence committed across entire communities spreads diseases, destroys family ties and inflicts harm over generations. Moreover, sexual violence as a tactic of war reinforces gender inequalities and normalises sexual violence, even after a conflict has ended. We need to stop normalising CRSV as a consequence of wars. We need to acknowledge CRSV as a crime that shall not go unpunished.

What are the differences between Panzi and the Mukwege Foundation?

Dr. Denis Mukwege established Panzi Hospital in 1999 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). However, due to the urgent and growing needs of the communities, Panzi Foundation DRC was created in 2008 to support the hospital and ensure the provision of other services for survivors, such as legal assistance, psycho-social support and socio-economic programmes. Together, Panzi Hospital and Foundation offer a holistic care model for survivors of CRSV and the One-Stop-Centre facilities are located in Bukavu, South Kivu. Our sister organisation Panzi USA – based in Washington – financially supports Panzi in DRC.  The Mukwege Foundation was established in 2015 to replicate the Panzi Holistic Care model outside DRC. The Mukwege Foundation supports victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to unite and stand up for their rights globally. Our office is based in The Hague, the Netherlands. 

What is the SEMA Network? 

SEMA stands for The Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence. The network currently represents survivors of conflict-related sexual violence from over 20 countries ranging from Africa and South America to the Middle East and Europe. Working together, these survivors draw global attention to the continued use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and call for the changes needed to end the violence and achieve justice. SEMA members join key international and national discussions on women, peace and security. You can visit www.semanetwork.org for more information. 

Where does the Mukwege Foundation work to support survivors of CRSV? 

The Mukwege Foundation is currently implementing programmes in the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Iraq, and Ukraine. In 2022 we hope to expand our support to survivors in Burundi, Colombia, Nepal and Ethiopia.   The SEMA international network of survivors includes survivor members from 21 countries currently: Bosnia, Bangladesh, Burundi, CAR, Colombia, DRC, Guinea, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Uganda and Ukraine.”

How can I help the work of the Mukwege Foundation? 

There are many ways to extend your support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. You can: 

  • Listen to survivors. We regularly share survivors’ voices and progress through newsletters and social media accounts. 
  • Help survivors get the care that they need to rebuild their lives through donation. 
  • Become an activist and help us raise awareness against the culture of impunity. 
  • Organise a fundraising event on special occasions, i.e.: birthday fundraising, charity marathon, office fundraising, etc 
  • Spread the words. Follow us and share our posts on social media: Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram 
Can the Mukwege Foundation help me conduct research on CRSV? 

We are happy to hear that you are researching this important topic. While we see the immense value in academic research regarding sexual violence in conflict, unfortunately, we are a small organisation and do not have the capacity to respond to your request. We kindly invite you to review the information included on our website to learn more about the work we are doing. We wish you all the best with your research. 

May I submit an open application for work/internships at the Mukwege Foundation?

Thank you for your interest in contributing to our work. Kindly note that unfortunately, we are currently unable to accept open applications, as we are a small organisation and we can only bring new colleagues/interns onto our team when there is a clear project for them to work on. We advise you to check our LinkedIn page or website for any vacancies which may be of interest to you. We will be happy to consider your application for a current vacancy.  

Can I volunteer at your organisation? 

As an organisation that aims to connect survivors all over the world, we truly appreciate the support of volunteers. However, volunteering opportunities are only available on a case-by-case basis for specific timeline. Kindly visit our LinkedIn to find out if there are any upcoming calls for volunteers

Can the Mukwege Foundation help me to get internship opportunities at Panzi DRC? 

For information about working at Panzi, we invite you to view their website and contact them directly: https://fondationpanzirdc.org 

How does the Mukwege Foundation get funding? 

As a registered non-profit in the Netherlands, the Mukwege Foundation receives funding mainly from foundations and institutional donors. For example, the Dutch and the Swedish Postcode Lottery, the European Union, the French Agency for Development, the Government of Germany, and the Trust Fund for Victims – International Criminal Court. We are also thankful for the support of individual donors whose contributions are very important as they in the previous years have helped us bring survivors together so that they can exchange stories and strengthen each other in the journey of pursuing justice. 

How can I donate?

Members of the public can send their donations via the Donation Page on our website. There are two types of donations: one-time giving and monthly (recurring) donation. Please be aware of your choices when donating. Further information about ways to support the work of the Mukwege Foundation can be found in this document. 

Where do my donations go to?

When you donate to us, there is the option to select either the Mukwege Foundation’s international work, or to support Panzi Hospital in DRC.  We transfer 100% of donations made to Panzi DRC directly to them without taking an administration charge. If you choose  to support the Mukwege Foundation, then your donation is directly supporting survivors worldwide i.e.: providing holistic care or to support survivor-led movements at the national and international level (the SEMA network). Members of the public can send their donations via the Donation Page on our website. There are two types of donations: one-time giving and monthly (recurring) donation. Please be aware of your choices when donating. Further information about ways to support the work of the Mukwege Foundation can be found in this document. 

How can I help fundraise for the Mukwege Foundation? 

Thank you for your wish to support the work of the Mukwege Foundation through 3rd party fundraising. We do have several toolkits to help you organise fundraising events that are in line with our fundraising guidelines. At the end of your fundraising campaigns, all donations can be submitted via bank transfer or the Donation Page on our website. Feel free to reach out to us at info@mukwegefoundation.org in case you have any specific questions or needs. We wish you the best of luck with developing your creative fundraising ideas and we are grateful for your support. 

How is the Mukwege Foundation linked to Dr Denis Mukwege? 

Our source of inspiration is the vision of holistic, survivor-centred care developed by Dr Mukwege and his team at Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The impact of their work in DRC motivates us to scale-up their best practiceselsewhere.

The Mukwege Foundation was created in 2016 to support survivors’ demands for a world where sexual violence as a weapon of war is no longer tolerated, and bears consequences for individual perpetrators and states. We work for a future where survivors receive the holistic care and compensation they need to rebuild their lives. We create opportunities for survivors to speak out and be heard, and where they can organise to create change, influence policies, and demand justice and accountability. Dr Mukwege has been our Special Advisor since the Foundation was created, sharing his expertise and vision of a holistic, compassionate and survivor-centred response to sexual violence in conflict.

We are working towards a future where sexual violence in conflict is no longer seen as inevitable, but is recognised for what it is: a crime that should have consequences. We want the international community to draw a line against wartime sexual violence and to hold states and individuals accountable.

The Mukwege Foundation is based in the Netherlands – it is a separate entity from Panzi Hospital and Foundation in DRC. Our work has an international scope and is not focused on the DRC. We do not have active programmes in the DRC, nor any plans to begin working in the DRC in the future. 

We work with a pool of experts at Panzi who are specialised in providing holistic care, and these experts support the Mukwege Foundation’s international roll out of the Panzi model outside the DRC.

We also accept donations from individuals (via our website) and private foundations for Panzi Hospital & Foundation DRC – in this case the Mukwege Foundation acts as a conduit for funding intended for Panzi. Much of this funding is earmarked (that is funds are for specified purposes only) and unearmarked funding is requested by Panzi Foundation DRC for specified purposes. Panzi Hospital and Foundation DRC are audited independently each year.

Although Dr Mukwege has acted as the special advisor to our Supervisory Board, he has no decision-making nor governance authority in the Mukwege Foundation. On announcing his decision to run for presidency, he is stepping down as special advisor to our Supervisory Board.

It is important to note that the Mukwege Foundation’s advocacy, like that of other human rights NGOs, is focused on holding states to account, providing evidence and policy-oriented suggestions, and ensuring the meaningful participation of survivors in policy formulation.

The Mukwege Foundation is a separate legal entity with an autonomous remit.  It has no engagement with the political campaign of Dr Mukwege.

Dr Mukwege has announced his candidacy to run in the presidential elections in DRC. Do you support his candidacy?

Today Dr Mukwege announced his candidacy to run in the presidential elections in DRC later this year.

In light of his announcement, Dr Mukwege has decided to step down from his role as special advisor to the Mukwege Foundation.

We know Dr Mukwege as a man with a strong vision and proven track record that has helped many people. We understand and share the values and principles which motivate Dr Mukwege to take this step to further his life-long advocacy; however, the Mukwege Foundation is not involved in his political campaign. 

While we are sad to see Dr Mukwege stepping down from his position as Special Advisor of the Supervisory Board, the decision to run for the presidency of the DRC is a personal choice made by Dr Mukwege, his family, and campaign team.

Who are the Supervisory Board of the Mukwege Foundation? 

Marieke van Schaik is the Chair of the Supervisory Board,  she is joined by Ellen Bien as the Treasurer of the Supervisory Board, Julie Verhaar, Adriana van Dooijeweert, and Unni Karunakara. As a survivor-centred organisation, we also plan to establish a Survivor Advisory Council to make sure the needs and inputs from survivors are accommodated. As part of our accountability, The Mukwege Foundation reports progress on a regular basis to the Supervisory Board.

How can I submit an interview request? 

Any interview requests regarding the work of the Mukwege Foundation can be sent to info@mukwegefoundation.org. Interview requests intended for Dr. Denis Mukwege can be addressed to Eric Biselo-Ndosimau via email biselo-avocat@outlook.fr.

My organisation would like to partner with the Mukwege Foundation. How can I submit a request for partnership? 

Because we are a small organisation, unfortunately we have limited capacity to enter into new fundraising and project partnerships. Thus, we are only able to consider partnership requests from organisations working specifically on CRSV and/or SGBV.  We believe that partnering with other human rights and humanitarian organisations is a great way to expand the work we do, and we hope that in the future, as our capacity grows, we will be available to contribute meaningfully to wider partnership opportunities.

My company would like to donate a percentage of our proceeds to the Mukwege Foundation. How can I arrange this? 

We appreciate your interests in supporting the work of the Mukwege Foundation. At the moment, we are not promoting co-branding with any products or services. All donations by 3rd party fundraisers need to comply to the fundraising guidelines and will be treated as individual donations. Thank you for your support. 

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