GBV Awareness and Prevention through Community Conversation


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Workinesh Molla Speaking at one of the Community Conversation Sessions. Photo: UN Women/Bethlehem Negash

Workinesh Molla, a young married women living in Doro Gibir rular kebele of Gubalafto District in North Wollo Ethiopia, is one of the 15 members group trained in Community Conversation for GBV awareness and prevention. The Community Conversation is part of the project “Prevention and Response to GBV and Covid -19 amongst crisis affected communities” implemented by Norwegian Church Aid and Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (DICAC-EOC) with support from UN Women. “We learned the problems of early marriage, discussed about sexual relations with our husbands and solving issues with open discussion” Workinesh said when asked about the benefits the Community Conversation has brought to the women in her village.

Guzguz Abera, another member of the group said that the group conversation gave her knowledge about what to do if rape happens, where to go first and how to report it. The conversation also gave them ideas on how to challenge the gendered division of labor, such as making boys do house chores after school as same as girls. According to her, the group went beyond gathering for conversation, they also made small contributions as saving from which she has benefited from.

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Guzguz Abera Speaking at one of the Community Conversation Sessions. Photo: UN Women/Bethlehem Negash

“I got small loan from the group’s savings and trying to earn money by making and selling bread and some drinks. I want that to be strengthened and benefit other members as well” She also added.

Other members we met at one of their gatherings over coffee reiterate the testimonies by Workinesh and Jano. They said the skills they have gotten from trainings and discussions as community conversation leaders enabled them to bring the discussions into their homes, empowered them to boldly raise issues such as consent for sex in marriage and helped them in identifying types of GBV such as Psychological and economic violence which they considered less harmful than physical and sexual.

This project aims to mitigate, prevent, and respond to GBV in crisis-affected communities through GBV awareness raising in conflict-affected communities, including through coffee corner discussions, community dialogues and media campaigns; establishing community-based complaint mechanisms (CBCMs) and build capacity of CBCM focal points in communities on their functionality and process of GBV / sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) reporting; and providing GBV/SEA related survivor support and services based on risk assessments, service mapping, and CBCM establishment.

The project is being implemented in Woldiya, Kobo, Gubalafto, and Raya Kobo woredas in North Wollo Zone of Amhara region in Ethiopia. So far, the project has reached 1,600 community members (800 women, 250 girls, 200 men, and 350 boys) with information on GBV including 120 women and girls through coffee corner discussions. Furthermore, 840 women and girls received dignity kits through this project, and 20 service providers report strengthened capacities to respond to GBV cases and provide survivor-centered support as a result of training delivered through this project. 

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Members of Community Conversation Group at one of their gatherings, Doro Gibir rural kebele of Gubalafto District in North Wollo. Photo: UN Women/Bethlehem Negash