Project: Reducing Violence against Women and Girls through Community Empowerment
Violence against women is widely accepted in Ethiopia. Women and girls are at risk of domestic violence, FGM, child marriages and bride abduction. The government has passed laws to protect women and girls but they are not fully implemented; the courts and police have limited information and resources and many cases go unreported.
Girls experience extreme pain during circumcision, it harms them psychologically and many face complications during child birth often leading to death. Bride abduction denies girls their freedom, prevents them from going to school and many will have children early. So, many women and girls fail to pursue their life aspirations and are condemned to a life of poverty.
What Womankind is doing
With a grant from Comic Relief, Womankind is collaborating with our partner KMG to eliminate violence against women in Southern Ethiopia, drawing from KMG’s successes in Kembatta and replicating the approaches in 4 other districts.
With our partner we are:
- Raising knowledge of 100,000 community members on the effects of violence against women through community dialogues and meetings every year
- Supporting 2,000 girls to remain in school and building their confidence to say no to violence, every year.
- Training 1,100 law enforcement agents, court officials and other public officials on women and girls’ needs every year.
What we have achieved so far
- KMG enabled communities in Kembatta to abandon FGM which reduced from 97% in 1998 to less than 4% by 2008. Over 175,000 girls have been protected from FGM.
- Community attitudes and practices towards violence against women have changed. Every year, over 30,000 people attend KMG’s “Whole Life, Whole Body” events and celebrate the lives of uncircumcised girls.
- In 2010, 550 women and girls were supported to take their cases to court. In the past many women would not have reported their cases.
“I am 16 years old and live with my family in the rural area of Kembatta. When I was 12 years old I registered to be a member of a KMG girls’ group in my village. As a member of the group I have learnt about the disadvantages of FGM and its effects on women’s health. We discuss amongst ourselves as members of the group and also receive information from KMG community educators. After the training I received through KMG, I have been sharing the information with other girls and community members in my village. Initially, people did not want to accept that FGM is a violation of women and girls’ rights. They said FGM was a part of our culture. But I did not give up and with other girls we continued to spread the message that FGM was a bad practice. Today, there are changes in the community and people are no longer circumcising as many girls as before.” Meaza Berhanu, 16 years old
“My life has changed since I started working with KMG. I am a member of the community conversation group and can share information and discuss many different issues with other community members, something I had never done before. I did not have any confidence and would be afraid to seek any assistance or information in government offices. However, today I am confident and can speak about issues affecting me as a Fuga woman.” (Ammarech Bekele)