Gender Centre VAW project
Project: Eliminating violence against women in rural areas
Location: Ghana: Ashanti Region
Partners: The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre) and Window of Hope Foundation
Levels of violence against women in Ghana are strikingly high. In rural areas particularly, domestic violence is widely accepted and practiced.
- 33% of women experience some sort of physical violence at the hands of current or previous partners
- 29% of women are forced into their first sexual experience
Women survivors of violence face major challenges in trying to access protection and medical or legal support. Those that do manage to access services are often faced with apathy or outright hostility.
What Womankind is doing
Womankind and our partner the Gender Centre have been working since 2005 to reduce violence in 18 poor, rural communities across 4 regions of Ghana. Given the success of the project a second phase in 2010 has extended to 2 new communities. To date with our partners we have:
- Established and trained 20 Community Based Action Teams (COMBATs) to support women experiencing violence through counselling, medical support, mediation, and referrals to the police.
- Made 13,000 community members and traditional and religious leaders aware of the impact of violence against women and the need to promote positive behaviour.
What we have achieved so far
Since 2005 we have achieved the following:
- 90% of community members acknowledged a reduction in violence in their community
- More women are reporting cases of violence
- 85% of community members, particularly traditional rulers and religious leaders, are more aware of women’s rights
- Bye-laws sanctioning VAW have been developed by traditional rulers and members of the District Assembly
- Lobbied successfully for the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill 2007
Victoria Nakie is 38 and has 6 children. She is holding her last born, Kudjo Teteh, who is one and a half.
‘Before the programme came to my town, my marriage was very difficult. We both used to go and work on the farm but when my husband would return from the farm, he would expect me to cook for him and if I didn’t cook fast enough for him, he would shout at me. Then Adwoa (the project worker) came to say that there would be a community meeting. We started discussing violence against women and children. The next time that Adwoa came to the village, I suggested that my husband attend the meeting with me. Slowly, as a result, he started changing his life style. Now my husband brings home food crops which I can then cook for both of us. Now we talk happily amongst ourselves. This change in our relationship, I can relate to the awareness raising brought by the programme.
Together, my husband and I have decided to send our first born to school. This is because the project linked violence against women to education, so my husband said that he didn’t want our son to fall into the same trap that he did.