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JCCP: Training workshop in Bossaso, Somalia : GBV awareness raising and conflict management
‘’Respect for the dignity of women at all times is very important’’
On 1st of June, a SMS text message for GBV (Gender Based Violence) awareness raising was sent out to thousands of the registered users of Golis mobile network in Bossaso, Somalia. "Ilaalinta Xuquuqda Haweenku Waa Mid Ay Dhiirgalisay Diinteena Islaamku." This message was carefully chosen by the Somali participants of training workshop, facilitated by JCCP in partnership with GRT, under the project entitled “Psychosocial Support for Drought victims and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)”. The main target of project is the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors and other traumatized persons amongst the internally displaced persons. Therefore, GBV raising awareness activity is designed as one of the three major components.
What does the message mean to you? “Women should be treated with full respect. They are in the first place”, a restaurant manager in his 40’s replied. Another male businessman, the owner of local hotel said, “Respect for the dignity of women at all times, it’s very important”.
‘’I will start right from my home’’
The training workshop was conducted from 27th to 30th May 2012 in Bossaso on awareness raising methodologies and conflict management. Trained were 35 GBV Focal Points (FoPs) in Bosasso IDP camps, as well as 15 local government officials and community elders. The purpose of the training was to enhance the effectiveness of GBV awareness raising in Bossaso IDP camps by building the capacities of GBV FoPs and other key stakeholders.
After introducing a couple of key concepts and strategies on awareness raising, a JCCP facilitator examined the steps and guidelines for effective communication with the participants. Both women and men were deeply engaged in interactive discussions and group activities to come up with a few key messages for raising awareness on GBV. ‘’Tell your secret to your friends’’, ‘’Respect the dignity of women’’, ‘’Stop FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)’’… they also presented how to solicit support from prospective partners and which communication tools to use.
The other topic of training workshop was conflict management, one of the crucial skills to carry out a sensitive activity such as GBV awareness raising at community level. The participants reviewed basic concepts of conflict and peace, then practiced a few tools for conflict analysis. Highlighted should be the practice and principles of conflict resolution for GBV cases in Somalia, which stimulated heated discussions among the participants. Their challenges in raising awareness on GBV were reiterated, but a series of useful tips for conflict management were provided for them.
How are they going to utilize these skills and knowledge? ‘’I will start right from my home’’, a GBV FoP in her 30’s said. Her raising awareness activity starts in the house, by talking with her immediate family members. Another GBV FoP emphasized the important role of community leaders. ‘’We shall work with community leaders to mobilize the people and tell them the significance of GBV in our community’’. The majority of participants showed their strong commitments by confirming their will to use what they learned “in every possible way”.
This project is implemented by JCCP since February 2012, with financial support from the Japan Platform.
JCCP: Psychosocial support for drought victims and IDPs in Bosasso kicks off
On 7th February 2012, JCCP launched a project for Psychosocial Support for Drought victims and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Bosasso, Somalia, through supporting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors and other traumatized persons amongst the internally displaced persons. This project is funded by the Japan Platform. JCCP works in partnership with GRT, an Italian NGO that has rich experience and solid expertise in psychosocial support for IDP communities in Bossaso.
Somalia has been plagued by decades of woes – persistent conflict, waves of natural disasters and drought. While these crises make headlines, the country's embattled people – a quarter of whom have been uprooted – also face personal tragedies that are no less devastating. Nearly 1.5 million Somalis are displaced within their own country and internally displaced persons are said to be even more vulnerable to gender-based violence. Women and girls are the ones who are mostly affected especially those in IDP settlements. While it is very important to take up preventive measures, there is also great need to support those who have been affected so that they can recover psychologically, as well as strengthen community mechanisms in responding to GBV.
JCCP works to create a conducive environment in which GBV survivors and other traumatized IDPs can access appropriate psychosocial support in Bossaso IDP settlements, by building the capacity of 42 Focal Points (placed in each IDP settlement as a first contact on GBV and migration issues) on Gender-Based Violence, and in communication, and awareness-raising. JCCP will also support recovery of 500 GBV survivors and other traumatized IDPs displaced mainly due to the severe drought and intensified conflict in the South-Central region of Somalia, through distribution of “Dignity Kits” for sanitation, crime-prevention and nutrition.
Gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, is considered taboo by most of the Somali communities. According to GRT, JCCP’s partner in Somalia's Puntland region, many victims of this kind of violence remain hidden and distraught due to their painful experiences. JCCP’s support is intended to facilitate their psychological recovery and restore their dignity.
JCCP is striving for reduction in GBV cases in Bosasso, Puntland, and strengthening a community-based mechanism to protect their right to live in safety and with dignity.
Story by Alice Ngari, Project Officer, JCCP Kenya