GBV Prevention and Response
SOFERES defines Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as: “A harmful act or threat based on a person’s sex or gender identity. It includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse, coercion, denial of liberty and economic deprivation, whether occurring in public or private spheres. GBV is rooted in unjust power relations, structures and social/cultural norms.”
Violence against women including sexual and gender-based violence as well as harmful cultural practices, is prevalent in Dzaleka Refugee Camp and surrounding villages. Every day, a woman or a girl is a victim of violence. On other hand, adolescent girls face greater pressure to adhere to traditional practices and customs including early marriages. Within this context, violence against women and harmful cultural practices, is everyone’s responsibility.
However, we are aware that in order to effectively eradicate violence against women and harmful cultural practices, we require a critical mass of individuals who are committed to our cause and with whom we can build effective partnerships to influence policies and engender processes at the different levels. Therefore, we must work in solidarity with others in order to initiate the changes necessary to achieve gender equality.
As an active member of GBV Prevention Network and different local, national, regional and international clusters that prevent and respond to GBV, SOFERES is working in solidarity with communities who are respected for the key role they play in arbitrating conflicts and influencing community attitudes and beliefs including influential women, community leaders, religious leaders as well as community based organizations—to guide their own processes of change. We are focused on raising awareness for change in social norms and behavior condoning violence against women and girls through sensitization meetings, peer education by community volunteers, community theatre, educational entertainment on local radio, and other mass communication. We train community members (women and girls) to become pro-active community facilitators on issues related to violence against women.
We also organize women’s forums at local level and support them in conducting public/street awareness raising campaigns in order to shift the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors around violence against women in their community.
In addition, we also provide direct services such as counselling, medical care, temporary shelters to women and girls survivors of violence, and teaching them the skills they need so that they can earn an independent living. These skills empower them to speak out, become leader and advocate for change.