Gender-Based Violence
On the prevention side, we worked
closely with women and the
community to improve the status of
women.  Most of this work meant
helping organize women to work and
speak collectively.  In areas where
women were organized we help them
strengthen their organizational
capacity.  These groups also had a
secondary purpose. They acted as a
forum for women to discuss their
problems and concerns, in essence an
informal counseling group.  

In addition, to supporting women we
sat down with the community at large
(men, women, youth and elders) to
have them reflect on the valuable
contribution women bring to society.  
Too often the contribution women
bring is overlooked.  When you ask a
woman what she does she usually
states that “Nothing, I just take care
of the house”.  When you ask men the
same question they usually state
“Nothing, she just take care of the
kids”.  So what we do is sit down and
discuss and demonstrate what work is
entailed to “just taking care of the
house and kids” and what it means to
the family and the society.  We also
look at how even though the majority
of women may not contribute
financially to the family that their
work is important and they should
have greater role in decision making.  
In essence what we are trying to do is
challenge power structures to help
prevent women from being victimized.

Since decision making tends to be
associated with economic value we
helped women learn new skills that
could allow them to obtain greater
opportunities to earn money in the
future.  Some skills training classes
that we supported included carpentry
and masonry, tailoring, computer
classes, weaving and tie dying.  For
women who may not have the chance
to get a job due to family
considerations we taught skills that
may ease the burden on their work at
home like gardening and soap making.  
These skills may have limited
economic benefit but they do improve
nutrition and hygiene as vegetables
and soap become more readily
available.   We also supported literacy
classes for both women and men to
provide them additional tools to get
ahead in life.

The work is hardly finished. Attitudes
persist and probably will for years.  
What we have done is start to plant
seeds.....saying that there are more
proactive ways to work together and
treat each other.  When people share
responsibilities you have a greater
potential to move forward.  
Staff Preparing for Workshop
Masonry Training
Literacy and Gara Tie-dying Students
Bread Baking Training
Roofing the Ngaiya Health Clinic
Workshop for Refugee Youths
Computer Training - Koidu
GBV Workshop for Young Mothers
GBV Guiding Principles Workshop with Yengema Women's Action Group
Sierra Leone Police Family Support Unit- Koidu
Tailoring Classes - Ngaiya, Youth Group