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March 2013 How to Respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence Workshop

4-6 March, 2013-With support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Charitable Society for Social Welfare (CSSW) held a three-day workshop on how to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence in emergency settings and situations.

The workshop was attended by 26 participants representing protection and relief workers from national Civil Society Organizations as well as international relief organizations that work in the governorates of Taiz, Hodeidah, Amran, Aden, Abyan, Lahjj and Sana’a.

The main goal of the workshop was to familiarize participants with concepts of gender mainstreaming and Sexual/Gender based Violence (SGBV) as well as equip them with skills on how to mainstream SGBV in protection and relief work using inter-agency Standing Committee (IASC) standards for protection and response to SGBV.

In the three days, participants shared SGBV issues in their local communities which included early marriage (for young males and females), child labor, deprivation from education, physical, domestic and verbal violence, sexual violence & sexual harassment, child trafficking (males mainly in Haradh area), deprivation from share in inheritance, and deprivation from right to reproductive decisions.

The roles and responsibilities of health staff towards SGBV survivors was discussed, outlining the minimum services that should be offered to displaced populations. In addition, the importance of mainstreaming SGBV in protection and other clusters and relief programming was highly stressed.

Working in groups, the participants highlighted the difficulties that protection workers face in the field, top of which were: security instability and unsafe routes to camps and lack of awareness among local communities of SGBV issues.

 The participants discussed the existing SGBV coordination mechanisms at national and local levels and discussed possible coordination mechanisms to be adopted by CSOs. At the end of the workshop, the participants came up with the following recommendations:

-          Capacity building of local staff working at field level in governorates,

-          Follow up activities to maintain work with IDPs

-          Raise awareness of host communities on SGBV issues.

-          Targeting local protection networks with training on SGBV issues

-          Providing support to local CSOs to be part of or develop local coordination mechanisms.