Celebrating the 16 days of activism- 2016

16 Days Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women is an annual awareness raising campaign observed globally. The purpose of the campaign is to address policy and legal issues; as well as campaign for the protection of survivors of violence and to call for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence. various communication platforms were used on the days. Platforms such as Intersection, Door to Door, street dialogues

It is estimated that 35% of women and girls worldwide have experienced gender-based violence (GBV). GBV is a social and human rights problem that is rooted in social inequalities among men and women. It is a problem that occurs in all parts of the globe, and while GBV has gained more attention over the years, it remains inadequate.

Pupils from Al-Macruf Primary School poses for picture before the beginning of the sessions

Figure 1: Pupils from Al-Macruf Primary School poses for picture before the beginning of the sessions

Gender-based violence covers child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence, early child marriage, violence in schools, female genital mutilation/cutting, forced labor and more. Roughly 70 million women have been married before the age of 18, and 120 million have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point. Even with an alarmingly high number of women and girls suffering different forms of violence every day, fewer than 40% ever report it.

This year, NoFYL is participating in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the campaign’s theme, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All.” As we all know that education is one of the most effective ways to end GBV and is committed to helping make public spaces, schools and homes safe for all women and girls worldwide!

Community Focus Group Discussion with Women on Gender Based Violence- 25th November.

To commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th of November NoFYL launched the campaign through conducting community focus group discussions which aimed to more understanding of challenges that women and girls face in relation of SGBV.  Methodologically, 4 focus group discussions were organized with 20 adult women in 3 different groups to identify the forms of GBV, role of communities to prevent violence, reasons and results of GBV in the IDP settlements. The discussions had been set-up with women only to make attendances feel comfortable and to talk freely.

Most women in the discussions identified challenges that displaced women would face on SGBV. Some of attendances have emphasized that challenges and problems for them is being exposed to physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as exploitation especially during evictions and when they are moving into new camps. These challenges could distress them in general.

The most of violence forms identified were within the family. They identified that with the rise in intimate partner violence marriage decision should be taken carefully with consultations of girls. Education of especially girls should be given a priority and marriage should never be a reason for girls dropping out of school.

Lack of education, depriving women’s rights, social norms, economic conditions were given by women as a risk factor. When women or girls are exposed to abuse, their fear from family and community would prevent them from speaking out and this compromise their safety and security.  In case of violence women are encouraged to come forward and report incidents to get services, incidents happening in schools against girls should be reported, awareness program should be tailored in a way that encourages and enhances the health seeking behaviors of our communities. All participants requested organizations to contribute to empowering women in terms of developing their skills and their coping mechanisms during crisis.

Group Counseling Session on free health opportunities for IDPs in Deynille District camps.

NoFYL community health workers, within the scope of 16 days of activism campaign, has conducted sessions on available health services for refugees and returnees targeting women, boys and girls. During the session subjects of right to health in national and international law, available health opportunities for IDPs were explained to the beneficiaries. The service mapping and referral pathways available were shared with IDPs and contact details of different agencies distributed to support and strengthen referral networks.

Raising Awareness Sessions- World Aid Day, December 1.

Jointly together with previously trained community dialogue facilitators NoFYL conducted community conversations on GBV and HIV prevention and response during the World Aids day. Raising people’s awareness and knowledge about some topics could lead to changing behaviors as seen from the dialogue sessions which were previously conducted. Therefore, during the 16 days of activism campaign community health workers conducted several community conversations jointly with dialogue facilitators on the subjects of understanding of gender-roles in the communities, effects of child marriages on accessing to education, effects of child labor on accessing to education, importance of hygiene at temporary education centers.

International Human Rights Day – 10th of December.

To mark the end of the global 16 Days of Activism on International Human Rights Day on 10th of December, IOM and NoFYL organized an event where school going children share creative songs, poems and pictures.  This year marks the major milestones for NoFYL in curbing GBV in Somali society especially in education sector.

The activity targeted Returnees, IDPs, Refugees and Disabled children. A school awareness session campaign against SGBV was also held. Participants were given a platform to share experiences and discuss community strategies to prevent and protect against SGBV targeting teachers, students and families.

The event was held at Al -Macruf School where there was competition of songs, dance and poetry between pupils from IDP camps in Mogadishu. The chief guest was a spokesperson from Ministry of gender and women affairs.

 

 

Gender Based Violence (GBV) and child abuses are the serious problems in Somalia. The cases of Rapes and other sexual assaults are still prevalent in IDP camps in Mogadishu. These includes; female genital mutilation (FGM), child and forced marriages; domestic violence (including domestic sexual violence), physical abuse and rape.

The violations can be directed to women and children. In Somalia, human rights violations may be extreme due to the increased insecurity, weak rule of law, lack of humanitarian access, and frequent natural hazards.

Campaign schedule had been developed based upon consultations with members of the GBVWG members and demands and needs of beneficiaries determined thorough conducted community focus group discussions and decisions of Women and youth groups.

Conclusion

The 16 Days Campaign ended on December 10 – Human Rights Day- but our collective work to end gender-based violence around the world is throughout the year. Gaps to knowledge of people on GBV issues is high and prevention strategies should be strengthened and health seeking behaviors among women and girls improved.

As prevention strategies of NoFYL on the protection of GBV issues, NoFYL has been continuing its GBV activities in Mogadishu and Gedo through its Community outreach programs since May 2014. On the other hand, ensuring women access to free reproductive health, raising their awareness and promoting women’s dignity will enhance women’s health and protection. Therefore, on the year of 2017, NoFYL will be scaling its prevention and response activities in Elwak district of Gedo region. Prevention from gender-based violence will be ensured through empowering of women and raising awareness of communities. Consequently, the increasing number of women and girl’s safe spaces will ensure to prevent GBV issues as a key strategy for the protection and empowerment of women and girls affected by the conflict and drought.

Organizations working in protection programs have to strengthen the collaboration among each other by producing resources and materials to reinforce advocacy efforts to achieve more peaceful world for women and girls free of gender-based violence.

In Mogadishu NoFYL act as the focal point for information exchange between the agencies involved, spearheads efforts to strengthen the capacity of government authorities and other civil societies and coordinates joint implementation initiatives among agencies.

These initiatives are aimed at building synergies among agencies and promoting efficient utilization of resources by avoiding duplication of efforts. So far The GBV Working Group has established a joint GBV strategy and conducted an GBV baseline in Mogadishu while the Protection Return and Monitoring Network has spearheaded efforts in collecting and Monitoring and Reporting grave violations against children in both Gedo and Mogadishu. NoFYL also spearheaded a joint service mapping exercise on GBV/child protection service providers in Banadir Region.

The runaway bride.

Batulo is 18 years old divorced and a mother to a 3-year-old son, she was brought up by her grandmother since her parents were so poor to support her and her 11 other siblings. When she was 15 years old her father and her grandmother arranged an early marriage for her to a stranger “I had no say in any decision so I silently cried and accepted my fate, and when I was 6 months pregnant he divorced me; rumors were that he had a habit of predating on young girls; all he wanted was to deflower me and off he went for another vicious circle in another city! He duped my poor grandmother and father into his quagmire, they never saw it coming and he never even paid for the dowry he promised them and my father become a laughing stock” she said with a mischievous smile.

The runaway bride. Batulo Story.

Batulo went back to her grandmother home where she delivered her son and lived for 3 years until her current predicament.

“My uncle summoned me to my grandmother’s chambers and together they informed me that they had a suitor for me, my uncle emphasized that he is a very wealthy man though elderly” she said. Batulo went silent and started fondling with her fingers, she was pondering and from the small wrinkle on her nose she looked disturbed, then she cleared her throat and continued “the story was too familiar and I made a vow to myself: never again! Although I knew my input was of very little consequence. But I had to stand for myself so I looked at both of them in the eyes and said NO!” Her grandmother and uncle were baffled it was a taboo for a girl of her age to stand up to her seniors on such matters “my grandmother threaten me with a mother of all curses and I decided to play my last card and I told them that as per Islamic sharia only my father had the jurisdiction over my marriage, I knew that my father was mostly embarrassed and felt duped in my previous marriage scandal and my bet worked he was on my side and asked my uncle not to go against my wish” she paused and gazed in the horizon and she continued “but my father is a very poor man and his stern decision swayed none and my uncle had already taken 2 camels from my so called suitor and my grandmother said that she was the one who brought me up and they made the decision that I marry the old man as his 4th wife!

The ceremony was expedited and to my dismay guards were hired to make sure I don’t escape” she chocked on her words picked up a napkin and blew her nose cleared her throat and continued “but on the day of the wedding after the nikkah everyone was so busy and I found a window and become a runaway bride, it was a very long journey and I got to my father’s shanty in Mogadishu at midnight, I felt like a free bird and slept like a queen. “However, Batulo’s merriment was short-lived, her uncle had disappeared after taking extra 3 camels as dowry from Batulo’s suitor and now the suitor wants his dowry back or his wife since he claims to have been legally married to her. Batulo says “my mother is now pressuring me to go back and settle down as a 4th wife and my father keeps reminding me that he can’t afford to buy 4 camels or trace my uncle, I am now bewildered and confused but am scared that soon my parents may mortgage me off to this old man, I don’t have any energy left in me to fight and I have just decided to sit and wait for my doom again” Narrates Batulo.

 
 
 
© 2018 Northern Frontier Youth - All Rights Reserved - Designed By Smatrace Solutions