POWERED BY FHI 360

FHI 360 – GENDER BASED VIOLENCE RESPONSE AND PREVENTION PROJECT

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They stream in, some with babies on their backs; one by one they arrive at the safe space. Asked why they leave their homes to come to this center, one woman raises her hand and says, “I get to make new friends her”. “I found someone who can listen to me and the troubles that I went through during the insurgency”, adds another woman. It is a random question that I often ask each time I go to the safe space where women gather to rebuild their social networks and find strength to move on with life despite the violence that some of them have had to face.  Each woman has a story to tell of the suffering she underwent during the conflict. Some can speak about their ordeals to the case worker; others still prefer to keep silent. With funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), and technical assistance from FHI 360, women in Dikwa and Ngala now have better stories to tell. It is through the safe space approach that FHI 360 is providing individualized case management which includes basic counseling and psychosocial support to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Dikwa and Ngala.

I had lost hope in life in general and even in my son. Even though my family supported me, the community is always looking at me suspiciously. I never thought I would find someone who could  listen to me and believe what happened to me. I feel better after the sessions with the case worker. I feel cared for and accepted. I have more hopes than before.’ 20-year-old beneficiary of individual case management

The project is part of an integrated humanitarian assistance response for north east Nigeria (IHANN) and includes primary and reproductive health, water and sanitation and hygiene promotion. FHI 360 protection sector provides psychosocial support services to survivors and raises community awareness on the consequences of GBV and the importance of accepting and supporting survivors as part of the survivor healing process. Through integration with the health sector, clinical care for survivors of rape is provided.

Since January 2017, FHI 360 has provided individualized case management services, including provision of dignity kits to 60 survivors of GBV in the two LGAs, among them women and girls released from captivity by the insurgents. Majority of the beneficiaries receive information regarding the services available to them through the community education sessions conducted by community volunteers. A total of 22,000 IDPs have been reached with GBV specific messages. The trained volunteers will remain a community resource which safely and confidentially refer survivors to service delivery points.

Community education is extended to community leaders in recognition of their role in referral of survivors to appropriate services and advocating for their safety and security.  Continued dialogue with community leaders has had positive results as survivors of GBV are now referred to the different service delivery points. This is a significant step forward compared to the resistance experienced by FHI 360 protection at the project initiation phase. One step at a time, FHI 360 through the IHANN project is building a more resilient community stepping out of the doldrums of conflict and terror.

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