Training on ways to combat gender-based violence has been rolled out.

Islamic Relief gathered staff from eight countries to train them in how to train others on gender justice and gender-based violence. The training was carried out with support from institutions, including the UK’s Department for International Development and the Swedish International Development Cooperation.

Gender training in Jordan.

Gender justice training in Jordan.

The meeting, held in Amman, Jordan, also welcomed guest speakers from the International Medical Corps, Care International, and UNHCR, who shared their best practices.

Running over seven days, it focussed on gender-based framework for programming, integration of gender-based violence (GBV) into programmes both through mainstreaming and in specialised projects, and addressing GBV in communities.

Concentrating on the theme of WASH – water sanitation and hygiene – programmes, gender focal points from offices including Chad, Niger, Pakistan, Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon learned about the types of violence, risk factors for violence in WASH, the causes and effects of violence, the principles for reducing vulnerability to violence (based on the VAWG toolkit), the IASC guidelines to addressing GBV in WASH, the basic ethical and safe response to survivors of violence, and how to raise awareness of violence and prevent GBV locally.

Iman Sandra Pertek, senior policy advisor for gender at Islamic Relief, said: “Women and girls are at the increased risk of physical and sexual violence when accessing latrines, washing areas, water points and other sanitary facilities in the humanitarian scenarios, especially in the displacement and conflict settings and particularly at night. Our WASH programmes need to be considerate of the GBV risk factors in order to ensure equitable access of all to our services.

Gender training in Jordan.

Gender justice training in Jordan.

“It is a humanitarian imperative to design all our interventions in a way that will increase the protection measures and reduce GBV risks, only in this way the rights of people in need can be truly fulfilled. Early next year our team in Yemen will collect qualitative information on the most prevalent GBV incidents as well as baseline data on feelings of safety when accessing our programmes. This will inform our future programming. The next step will be a sequence of community awareness activities on protection and gender justice.”

Sharifa Abdulaziz, gender officer, said: “The ecological framework on GBV, circle of influencing and a process of change are just some elements of our GBV analysis. Awareness of the mechanisms, psychology and practices around GBV means we can be better equipped to break the cycle of violence, working with individuals, communities and institutions. We will soon start a project in Lebanon, for example, working with Syrian refugees who are survivors of or are at risk of gender-based violence.”

The project, which is expected to reach 1,200 women, will be multi-faceted, providing a hotline of help and advice, as well as life skills sessions to empower survivors of GBV and build their self-esteem. Personal hygiene kits will be distributed to women over the year, and awareness sessions will be carried out on topics such as gender justice and precautions to avoid attacks.

In December, IRW will launch an e-learning programme on GBV in WASH designed to train more than 60 staff members globally over a two-month period.

Islamic Relief is committed to gender justice, is guided by its Gender Justice Policy and has spoken about Islamic perspectives of gender justice at the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).