Gender-Based Violence survivors receive livelihood support from UN Women and partners

Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

In August 2018, over 200 women and girls’ survivors of gender-based violence in the Far North Region of Cameroon received different economic kits worth 100.000FCFA (175USD) to enable them to setup small businesses in view of their financial independence and economic empowerment. Prior to the distribution of economic kits, a market survey is done, and the survivors receive training on the creation and management of a small business.

The Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) humanitarian response in the Far North Region offers holistic support to gender-based violence (GBV) survivors to guarantee improved protection and economic empowerment of women and girl’s survivors of Boko Haram, sexual assault and other forms of GBV.

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Marie-Noelle Tchived making a dress with the sewing machine offered to her by UN Women and partners. Photo:  UN Women/ Teclaire Same

One of the survivors who received a sewing machine to enable her to start a tailoring business is Marie-Noelle Tchived, 22 years old single mother of 3. She was chased out of her parents’ home and was forced into early marriage when she was only 14 years old. Marie-Noelle was later abandoned by the father of her child and since suffered psychological and sexual assault. She came to know about the work of UN Women and her partners from her neighbor who is one of the project beneficiaries. “The social worker at the women empowerment center referred my case to the medical center after counselling me. Since I already knew how to sew I was given a sewing machine to help me start my tailoring business. I now sew dresses and display, so people can know I am a good tailor and bring their dresses to me. My dream is to save up some money and rent a shop in the market where I can have more customers and earn more money. Now that I know my rights I will ask the support from the social worker to summon the father of my first child who in now attending primary school, so he can start supporting us and send his child to school,” Marie-Noelle explained.

According to Henry Nyingcho, UN Women Livelihood Expert, all GBV survivors who come forward receive livelihood support to guarantee economic empowerment after receiving psychosocial counselling, medical care and judicial services where necessary. “We first conduct a baseline survey to assess the needs, background training, skills and interest of the beneficiaries of the survivors. The outcome of this analysis is what informs our decision on the type of economic kit to provide to beneficiaries,” Nyingcho explained.

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Matine making ground nut rolls a bi-product from making groundnut oil. Photo: UN Women/ Teclaire Same

Another beneficiary who received an economic kit that enabled her to start vegetable oil production and other bi-products from groundnuts is Martine, a 37 year old and mother of 7 children. Martine was constantly physically abused by her husband and seized the proceeds from her small business. “I complained to the social worker who summoned my husband. Thanks to the counselling we received from ALVF, my husband has now stopped beating me and seizing money from my business because he is afraid of the law. I was also trained on how to better manage my business and received a bag of groundnuts and other materials I needed to reopen my groundnut oil making business. I am saving the profits and hope to reinvest the money in other items to grow my business, Martine shared.

UN Women and her partners – ALVF (Association for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and MINPROFF (Ministry of Women empowerment and the Family) continues to provide emergency integrated assistance to gender-based violence victims, Boko Haram survivors and women and girls at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The interventions in the CERF are building on the achievement and lessons learnt from years of mainstreaming gender in Humanitarian Response.