Mogadishu, Somalia June 2021- UN- Habitat through the Benadir Regional Administration (BRA), Directorate of Health and Human Services held a training on the prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, an initiative funded by the European Union.

The 30 participants who took part were drawn from the BRA Directorate of Health and Human Services, health workers and community surveillance teams from Benadir Region.

“Vulnerable communities have been impacted the most by the pandemic with women particularly at risk of Gender Based Violence associated with the increased gaps of inequalities from loss of livelihoods and multiple displacement. In 2020, over 100 cases of sexual violence were documented in Mogadishu. Somalia Women Development Centre a local NGO reported over 13 cases in less than 72 hours, with 65 per cent of the cases being girls out of school due to the pandemic,” said Ishaku Maitumbi, UN-Habitat Officer-in-Charge.

Group photo GBV training

The main purpose of this training was to integrate COVID-19 awareness with action against Gender-Based Violence aimed at enhancing the level of awareness of the community and knowledge on how to prevent, respond and refer such cases without risk to those affected.

“This training will better equip our COVID-19 awareness team and the community at large to not only fight against COVID-19, but also GBV. This will make use of the existing referral mechanisms of identifying and referring GBV cases which have been on the rise due to vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic,” Mohamed Cadow, BRA Director of Health.

As a result of the training, community surveillance teams and front line health workers are required to create awareness and messaging to influence societal norms, use referral mechanisms set in place and public health channels to address GBV cases and work with the project to provide livelihood support for vulnerable women and IDP households.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, data from community health workers has shown that GBV cases have intensified especially in vulnerable communities.  UN-Habitat together with BRA has also launched a series of fit for purpose campaigns aimed at creating awareness on COVID-19 and  held discussions with practitioners on ways to address GBV in communities during times of pandemics.

This training is part of a series of trainings being conducted by the BRA in Mogadishu within the ‘EU Response to Health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in Mogadishu’ project.