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Japan and UNFPA partner to restore dignity for Burundi refugees

13 February 2019
Japan and UNFPA partner to restore dignity for Burundi refugees

 

Women and especially adolescent girls are among the most vulnerable and exposed to risks including unintended pregnancies, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGBV) during crisis.  UNFPA prioritizes provision of basic Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services and advocates partners to give same attention like other urgent basic needs in humanitarian settings.

 

Adolescent girls in particular may be unable to refuse unwanted sex or resist coerced sex, which also tends to be unprotected. The risk of GBV during emergencies is often further heightened due to a number of factors, including the sudden breakdown of families and community structures.

 

The Japanese government provided financial support to UNFPA Rwanda office to “increase access to maternal, sexual and reproductive health, gender based violence prevention and response services to Burundian refugees’ women, adolescents and youth in Mahama camp”. Through this support, tremendous achievements have been registered including reduced incidences of maternal health by strengthening the referral system, 1,388 safe births, 69,734 adults and young people reached with SRH information including HIV, FP and GBV prevention and management.

 

I would like to thank UNFPA and partners for the wonderful work they’ve done to support Burundian refugees, by using the financial support from the Government of Japan effectively and efficiently. I believe the ambulance, equipment, and women’s safe space are very important for vulnerable populations, especially women, girls and young mothers.” - H. E. Takayuki Miyashita, Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda.                           

 

The occasion of launching of the newly constructed GBV Safe Room, marked the 7th time the Japanese Ambassador, H. E. Miyashita visited Mahama Camp for during his few years as Ambassador in Rwanda. The newly constructed GBV Safe Room- a space where women and girls, as well as men, feel comfortable and enjoy the freedom to express themselves without the fear of judgment or harm especially those surviving GBV issues.

 

“Many of us left Burundi without families, some of us have been raped and others are attracted by small gifts offered by men and got impregnated involuntary. We thank ARC for their help with teachings us how to protect ourselves from unwanted pregnancies and providing us with opportunities such as vocational training.” - Burundian First Time Young Mother At the GBV safe room, two counselling rooms are available with some health care providers to assist women and men by offering testing, emergency contraception, as well as dignity kits. Also multi-purpose room in the facility serves as an open space for activities and conversations, in particular among First Time YoungMothers, out of which 30 have been selected as peer-mentors in their community.

 

SASA methodology – ‘fireplace activity’, one of many community mobilization approaches among those developed by Raising Voices in their SASA! As Burundian culture traditionally uses fire to mourn the deceased, community activists use ‘fireplaces’ to mourn GBV victims while raising awareness.

 

The fireplace offers a space for social interaction, facilitated by the testimonies of women who have experienced SGBV. Theatre plays are also often used to convey messages on GBV prevention and on the support available to those who suffer from it.

“The support of Japan has enabled UNFPA to strengthen Sexual and reproductive health and GBV interventions which are critical to be integrated into humanitarian response to save the lives of women and adolescent girls not only in Mahama camp but also in other humanitarian settings including host communities. UNFPA appreciates the Government of Japan and we look forward to continued partnership” - Mr. Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative