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The current drought response in Ethiopia is being scaled up across sectors, including food security, nutrition assistance, provision of safe water and sanitation, and livelihood protection. In addition, other urgent humanitarian assistance to drought- stricken areas such as agriculture and livestock support for pastoralist communities are also being increased. Nonetheless, the needs of women and girls may not be met due to a number of compounding factors such as the breakdown of key services which are critical to the health, protection, and recovery of women and girls; weakened informal and formal protection and accountability mechanisms; disrupted livelihoods, increased displacement, power imbalances, and limited access to resources.
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This publication describes the UN Women Rwanda Office's effort in dealing with Gender-Based Violence (GBV) victims using different approaches in both GBV prevention and response. It also provides success stories from different beneficiaries in relation to legal assistance which showed that in most cases it requires strong courage from the victims to bring the perpetrators to justice especially in the context of negative cultural beliefs, women's economic dependence, fear of discrimination and stigmatization among other challenges. The document also highlights the role of mobile legal clinic in increasing the proximity of legal services to the community including awareness-raising and legal literacy.
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It is a reality that our region carries the highest prevalence of child marriage and female genital mutilation in the world, impacting millions of our girls. These harmful traditional practices have devastating impact including loss of life, risk of disease such as fistula, loss of education and life opportunities, trauma and other psycho-social impacts resulting in deepening poverty and perpetuating a cycle of abuse. This calls on us as traditional and religious leaders to urgently assume our role as protectors of our children. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the prevalence of genderbased violence in our countries and communities.
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The R-GTG wishes to contribute to the efforts in progress to confront the current pandemic by sharing this note with the Coordinators residing in the region with the intention of encouraging and proposing tools to improve the consideration of the gender issue in the response to COVID-19. In this respect, it addresses the main risks connected to gender when considering the pandemic and makes a specific number of recommendations to respond to it.