Reply To: Reflect and discuss: VAW prevention principles

Langi Malamba

    1. Accountable to women and girls
    We facilitate circle dialogues with both men and women to create equal platform for engagement where women can lead discussions and offer creative solutions sharing of their own experiences. For example in a newly built transit camp, women were not consulted about the location of the ECD centre, water source and the toilets/ablution block. We made sure that their unhappiness was registered with the office of the regional director responsible for urban sprawl development and facilitated a session where women could freely raise their objections and offered women friendly solutions to mitigate safety and security risks.
    2. Gender power analysis
    a lot of educational awareness was done with the men leaders in the transit camp to make them aware of the power imbalance when decision making positions were created which further relegated women to ‘carer’ types of positions as opposed to strategists who can lead transformation programmes in the camp , which will benefit the women and young girls. a number of programs to dispel stereotypes about women were used for different age groups to further affirm women
    3. Inclusive and intersectional
    our programmes challenged the stereotypical way in which women were caricatured according to gender identities and characteristics attributed to them. WE deliberately created platforms to help both women and men to analyze the prevalence of GBV and SEA (sexual exploitation and abuse) in the camp and encouraged shared values and commitment to mitigate the escalation of VAW incidents in the transit camp.
    4. Prioritising safety of women and girls
    elimination of VAWCE( violence against women ,children and elderly) was an integral part of our community outreach programmes where we worked jointly with ward committee leaders of the section where the transit camp was situated. The relocation of the toilets and water sources to a well lit section of the transit camp was a clear indication of commitment from leadership to prioritize safety of women and girl children. The permissive environment created for open and honest dialogues around what affects women and children in the transit camp prevented potential backlash and resentment.
    5. Starting with ourselves
    Our motto has always been to start where the service end users are and have a non-judgmental attitude when working with vulnerable women’s groups. Self- appraisals were conducted with all recruited volunteers in the programme to ensure that they reflect on their own personal values, prejudices, stereotypes and unresolved issues, so they know why they want to be part of the SAME (society activation, mobilization and empowerment programme) activists who advocated for social justice, equity, human rights and equality. Everyone had to go through thorough screening and personal development programme to ensure that there is adequate support and relevant interventions before they can assist others.