Gender Based Violence

According to Somalia Humanitarian Need Overview, protection from GBV and for GBV survivors remains a priority need for women and girls in affected communities. About 83 per cent of reported GBV incidents concern IDPs, while 15 per cent affected members of host communities. Physical assault continues to be the most commonly experienced GBV incident, followed by sexual assault and rape. Within IDP sites, risks of GBV are aggravated by the lack of privacy in poor quality shelters, insufficient latrines and a lack of lighting at night. Exposure of women and girls to GBV is also considerable outside IDP sites, when grazing animals, collecting firewood and water, or seeking livelihood opportunities. The severe limitation of services, worsened by access constraints for women and girls due to extreme stigmatization and fear of reprisals, deprives GBV survivors of necessary multi-sectoral care and support.

Although conflict is at the core of GBV, deep-rooted cultural beliefs create persistent inequalities between men and women place women at particular risk of being victimized. Gender inequality results in rigid and differently valued role allocations among men and women, limited access and control over resources and benefits, lack of access to basic services such as education, health and information, low representation in formal decision making positions and limited participation in the decision making process at community and family level, and low participation in highly paid economic activities.

Medical and psycho-social services available to survivors in the target locations are insufficient, inappropriate and below the expectation of survivors. This coupled with low levels of community awareness on issues of GBV; stigma and other cultural barriers which encourage impunity for breaches in laws and convections. In Somalia there has been a steady increase in GBV cases since December 2017. This has been attributed to the increasing levels of conflict and natural disasters (recurrent drought and floods). Increased forced evictions within the camps have also exposed more women and children to the risk of GBV in the camps thus increasing their vulnerability.

All NoFYL project activities are carried out to maximize community participation. Regular meetings and capacity building activities at the established women and girl safe spaces seek to engage the community and support the establishment and development of community networks in order to strengthen local mechanisms for prevention and response. By providing support to existing community structures NoFYL projects seek to ensure the following:

  • Comprehensive Case management/Medical support, including specialized clinical care for sexual assault survivors (CCSAS) through trained nurses and case management teams to ensure survivors are followed up and quality support is provided. Central to the service provision at our centers will be a strong referral mechanism.
  • Psychosocial support and counseling through survivor centered approached provided y trained counselors.
  • Awareness raising campaigns through community outreaches and media to enhance community knowledge of social norms and practices that are harmful to our communities.
  • Material support (dignity kits and solar lantern) coupled with livelihood support will be the backbone of NoFYL’s GBV programming. Material support serve as an entry point to discussing sensitive issues of sexual and reproductive health and GBV prevention, thereby empowering women and girls with information and life skills critical for them to prevent sexual violence and/or to seek services when abused. Distribution is usually done during the awareness sessions at the women and girls safe space.
  • Construction of women and girls safe spaces to improve protection and to widen support networks. Awareness campaigns and psychosocial support will be linked to the established safe space that will provide a space where women and girls can go to at any time to feel safer and empowered and have access to information, skills building activities, support and services. The safe space will be used for various activities such as: Psychosocial support, safety planning and risk reduction, dignity kits and solar lantern distributions, literacy and numeracy training, skills training on tie & dye. Information on critical issues will be shared in these spaces such as where/how to access humanitarian services and information on sexual and reproductive health, legal rights, childcare, and GBV prevention and response. This will be a safe space that promote women’s protection and empowerment and help mitigate risk of GBV.
  • Supports economic empowerment and skills development of vulnerable women in tie and dye skills. The skills training program puts emphasis on decreasing vulnerability of GBV woman survivors and vulnerable women through participation in livelihood generating activities. The objective is to empower, educate and raise their awareness in the protection measures against GBV and to reintegrate them into the society in a sustainable and dignified ways. Interventions include technical and skill trainings combined with a startup kit at the end of training to enable them to establish small business enterprises, beneficiaries also undergo literacy and numeracy training.
  • Develop and strengthen local level referral pathways through service mapping. NoFYL through the GBVAoR have jointly conducted a GBV service mapping exercise to identify active local and international actors that provide services to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) across the South Central. This exercise included mapping of health facilities and institutions that provides or has capacity to provide GBV responses (upon capacity building). The purpose of the mapping was to strengthen the referral system for GBV and having a unified system in this regard. The GBV mapping exercise focused on the key actors on the ground responding to GBV and which services are being provided and where and by whom (collecting contact details for building a referral network). This exercise culminated into development of an online referral directory for Somalia, it can be accessed through
  • GBV safety audits – The safety audits examines aspects pertaining to GBV and safeguarding, to ensure the safety of women and girls, including people with disabilities. The analysis of findings from safety audits will be used to inform actions including putting in place risk mitigation measures and advocating for the humanitarian community and service providers to improve the physical safety of living conditions, the distribution of and access to services, or security. The audit tools is usually based on visual observation as a means of assessing GBV risks related to the physical structure and layout, resource availability, and provision of humanitarian services and assistance.