UN Women, partner’s work in rehabilitating CRSV survivor-displaced women showing promising results
19 January 2024
UN Women is supporting a project to respond to violence against women and girls through capacity strengthening.
“I had to leave with my son, leaving my belongings, my home, because the conflict was intensifying. Raped by soldiers, I was fearing for my life. I came to the camp 3 years ago. There was little support for us there. My son couldn’t go to school, because the camp only accommodates primary school.”
These are words of Almaz Alemu1,45, who was living in a small town close to Mekelle, Tigray when the northern Ethiopia conflict erupted. She used to make a living by selling food and drinks on a small place she owned. She left the place she called home for seven years and joined other displaced people to live in “Qebero Meda Camp”, a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP), in Gonder, Amhara region.
Almaz was one of the 245 women reached by Good Samaritan Association’s project that provides comprehensive rehabilitation services to women and girl survivors who have experienced Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) and supported by UN Women Ethiopia. The survivors got counselling services and basic business skills training in a shelter run by GSA. Almaz was also provided with small grant to start business.
“I got seed capital to start small business selling food, coffee, and tea. I started working here 8 months ago and slowly start to earn for sustenance I am thankful for that. I now live outside the camp with my son, sending him to middle school. I hope to expand my business and get back to the life I used to have before the war” She spoke.
The project provides psychosocial support, medical checkups, life, and basic business skills training at the shelter. Counselling, integral part of rehabilitation effort for CRSV survivors is being provided in partnership with Gondar university.
Birtukan Taye, a lecturer at Gondar University’s psychology department, who gives counselling for survivors as a volunteer, noted that given the rampant CRSV happened during the conflict, the University has taken the initiative to support survivors through volunteerism.
“We mostly do group counselling; we try to show them that they are not alone, and this is not end of their lives. These women wanted to be heard, to tell their stories, to be free of judgement they mostly face from the public, to know that it wasn’t their fault that they were sexually violated. I am happy that I can give that to them” said Birtukan of the counselling work they do.
Commander Almaz Lakew, Head of Women and Children’s section at Gonder City Police Department says GSA’s shelter is instrumental in our work especially when it comes to GBV survivors, including women and girls who were trafficked and sexually abused. “We do not have a place to keep them while they stay to get the much-needed support until they are re-united with their families. We do not provide food and other much needed supports. Hence, we refer them to GSA’s shelter where they get support in shelter, food, counselling, and accessing health services,” said the commander.
Ato Abraham Kenaw,Women, Children, Social Affairs expert for Azezo district of Gondar noted that the support UN Women and GSA are providing is already showing promising results for the women to start earning a living, doing small businesses. Despite how small the starting capital was, they are making good progress.
“We try to prioritize among IDP women looking at those in dire conditions since the number of women in need is high and we cannot accommodate all. We do not think the support these women are getting is enough. We need more resources in terms of increasing starting capital, which currently isn’t sufficient. Getting a place to work at is also difficult, rent being expensive for those who are just starting business.”
UN Women partnered with Good Samaritan Association for the implementation of a project entitled “Provision of Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services for Survivors of GBV Among Internally Displaced People in Amhara Region” in March 2022. The project focuses on rehabilitation of internally displaced women and girl survivors of violence who are affected by the conflict, migrant returnees and victims of trafficking through enhancing access to holistic rehabilitation and reintegration services.
A total of 245 women and girls benefited from the services including psycho-social support, temporary shelter, training opportunities and creating linkage with credit associations and reintegration. The project also supported institutional strengthening and capacity development of national and local institutions to respond to violence against women and girls through provision of capacity building trainings to service providers.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women