The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, in partnership with the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), has conducted capacity building workshops for community representatives and service providers in Pemba, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique. The workshops, held under the theme “Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence in humanitarian settings,” aimed to educate participants on identifying and referring gender-based violence cases and the roles and responsibilities of key service providers.
The workshops were held from 11-14 April 2023 and 17 – 21 April 2023 and drew 80 participants from all 17 districts of Cabo Delgado province. His Excellency, Prof. Mpho G. Molomo, Head of Mission SAMIM, opened the event and highlighted that gender-based violence knows no social, economic or national boundaries. In conflict settings, women and girls are primarily and increasingly targeted by the use of sexual violence, a tactic of war that is a manifestation of gender inequality and systemic gender-based discrimination.
Cabo Delgado province has been experiencing acts of terrorism and violent extremism since October 2017, which has resulted in the displacement of communities, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and returnee populations in the province. Women and girls are at risk of multiple forms of gender-based violence before, during, and after being forcibly displaced in both IDP camps and areas where they reside.
Ms. Kealeboga Moruti, Acting Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, noted that high rates of gender-based violence in emergency and humanitarian settings are due to family separation, disruption of law and order, poor state protection, weakened infrastructure, and changing cultural and gender norms. Gender-based violence requires a multi-sectoral response and collaboration among key service providers and stakeholders for services to be offered effectively and in a well-coordinated manner.
The workshops discussed regional legislative instruments, national GBV legislative tools, referral mechanisms, cultural and traditional values and beliefs, and included field visits to various service delivery points, such as the GBV Police Victim Centre in Pemba. Community representatives who attended the workshop as Champions of Change recommended concerted efforts in strengthening engagements with schools, religious and faith-based organizations to intensify preventive measures.
Ms. Regina Martins Muankongue, Director of Gender, Child and Social Action, affirmed the government’s commitment to continue collaborating with SAMIM in the implementation of gender programmes in Cabo Delgado province. She thanked the SADC Secretariat for the technical and financial support towards hosting the important workshops. Ms. Muankongue urged the participants to replicate lessons learnt from the workshops in their districts, enhance coordination, and strengthen referral mechanisms. She also appealed to service providers to collaborate with the trained Champions of Change in the fight against the scourge in the districts.
The workshops were facilitated by the Support to Peace and Security in the SADC Region (SPSS) Programme, which is funded by the European Union to strengthen the SADC region in areas of conflict prevention, management, as well as public and human security.