Côte d'Ivoire's political crisis in 2001 worsened the humanitarian situation in the country and gender-based violence (GBV) grew to affect 67% of women.
Sexual violence was used as a weapon of war and GBV survivors had to grapple with various almost insurmountable challenges, including a) the physical and psychological traumas and other medical conditions; b) a lack of judicial systems leaving crimes unpunished; c) the lack the financial resources to cover the high cost of medical certificates, psychologists' fees and prescription drugs; d) security system's failure to protect survivors, discouraging many victims to come forward and seek assistance.
The project addressed the capacity deficit caused by the departure of 17,135 officials and other social services workers providing critical services to the population. The project initiated a strategy of holistic support through three schemes:
The establishment of integrated service centres offered an integrated package of medical, psychosocial, economic, legal and judiciary services for GBV survivors.
The establishment of income-generating projects for women's associations where GBV victims were encouraged to join, empowering them economically and limiting the harms caused by isolation and social stigma.
Training six nongovernmental partner organizations (AWECO; l'Organisation Nationale pour l'Enfant, la Femme et la Famille; l'Organisation pour le Développement des Activités des Femmes; Cases; Horizon Vert; and Organisation pour les Droits et la Solidarité en Afrique) and equipping them to respond effectively to GBV through prevention, attention and the reintegration of GBV survivors.
The project has helped the lives of over numerous victims of GBV in the target area. It has:
Created an innovative referral and counter-referral system through which the country could begin paying more attention to GBV.
Rehabilitated and equipped the gynecological and obstetrical departments of two regional hospital centres; mounted four GBV centres with integrated services (health, psychology, justice), rehabilitated and equipped eight social protection centers and 18 health centers with infant and maternal health equipment; trained 300 social and health workers in GBV treatment and care; and trained 150 policeman, 42 judicial agents, and 136 community leaders in legal and judiciary assistance in GBV.
Raised awareness of GBV for over 200,000 community members.
Established a baseline of data and indicators on gender equality(access to education, employment and health, GBV data, etc.).
"One of the project's important achievements was that it gave women access to maternal and health services, and gave children access to rehabilitated schools." -- General Secretary, Korogho Prefecture
"I was treated for free and staff's visits to my home reassured my family and made them feel respected." -- Survivor, Guiglo
"By grouping together, we have become autonomous." -- Mrs. Diaby Bamba, president of a group that processes cashew nuts in Dabakala
"The project has given me the means to earn money by taking part in something that lets me provide my children with the food and care they need. Now when the family needs to make a decision, I too have a say." -- Project beneficiary, Bouake
"Widows who have been abused, women who were raped or beaten - these women were welcomed in groups, in the community." -- Dr. Anne Ambroise, UNFPA Coordinator, Korhogo
"Now the community knows that it mustn't harm people. Now it knows that women are protected." -- Survivor, 16 years old