Community conversation to enhance awareness, prevention of gender-based violence
15 September 2022
The Community Conversation has led to positive results in raising awareness of communities on preventing and responding to gender based-violence.
Workinesh Molla is a young married women living in Doro Gibir rural kebele of Gubalafto District in North Wollo, Amhara Region. She is one of the 15 members group trained in Community Conversation for Gender-based Violence (GBV) awareness and prevention.
When asked about the benefits the Community Conversation has brought to the women in her village, Workinesh said, “We discuss a lot of issues, including problems related to early marriage, sexual relations with our husbands and problem solving.”
Guzguz Abera is another member of the group. She said that the conversation helped her understand action needed if rape happens, including where to go first and how to report it. She also found the discussion about division of labour in the household interesting, as domestic chores that are culturally left for women and girls should also be shared among men and boys. Guzguz’s group members went beyond gathering for the community conversation, they also made small contributions as saving from which she has benefited from.
“I got a small loan from the group’s savings, and I am trying to generate income by making and selling bread and some drinks. I want this initiative strengthened so that other members also benefit from the loan,” she said.
Like Workinesh and Guzguz, other women members who participate in the community conversation also pointed out the benefits of engaging in the conversation to discuss and seek solutions to their common challenges. They said the discussions and knowledge they received from trainings empowered them to boldly raise issues such as consent for sex in marriage and help them identify types of GBV such as psychological and economic violence which were considered less harmful in their context than physical and sexual. They also noted that they take the issues in the community conversation to stir a similar conversation at family level.
The Community Conversation is part of the project “Prevention and Response to GBV and COVID -19 amongst crisis affected Communities” implemented by Norwegian Church Aid and Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (DICAC-EOC) with support from UN Women.
This project aims to mitigate, prevent, and respond to GBV in crisis-affected communities through GBV awareness raising in conflict-affected communities, including through coffee corner discussions, community dialogues and media campaigns. Establishing community-based complaint mechanisms (CBCMs), building capacity of CBCM focal points in communities on their functionality and process of GBV/sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) reporting; and providing GBV/SEA related survivor support and services based on risk assessments, service mapping, and CBCM establishment are also strategies for the implementation.
The project is being implemented in Woldiya, Kobo, Gubalafto, and Raya Kobo woredas in North Wollo Zone of Amhara region. So far, the project has reached 1,600 community members (800 women, 250 girls, 200 men, and 350 boys) with information on GBV including 120 women and girls through coffee corner discussions. Furthermore, 840 women and girls received dignity kits through this project, and 20 service providers report strengthened capacities to respond to GBV cases and provide survivor-centered support because of training delivered through this project.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women