Humanitarian GBV & Protection Intervention for Congolese Refugees in Kyangwali Settlement
Since January 1st 2018, 46,124 Congolese refugees have entered Uganda, 27,349 of whom have settled in Kyangwali settlement in Hoima District. Current arrivals represent 77% of UNHCR’s Refugee Response Plan for 2018, and more refugees are expected in the next weeks and months. There is an urgent and increasingly growing need to scale up responses, especially protection and gender-based violence (GBV) interventions. This intervention, “Humanitarian GBV & Protection Intervention for Congolese Refugees in Kyangwali Settlement” was addressing key GBV and protection needs of refugees and the host communities. Women and children make up 82% of the refugees. These groups are especially vulnerable to protection and GBV-related risks. The Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) and GBV assessment conducted by CARE in February 2018 revealed high levels of trauma among refugees after systematic violence against them has intensified also during their recent flight to Uganda. Persons with Special Needs (PSNs) are not adequately identified at the Reception Centre, often go unsupported and are left at high risks of abuse, exploitation as well as resorting to high-risk strategies for survival. This applies to GBV survivors who risk missing vital care within 72 hours for administration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), clinical management of emergency contraceptives, etc., as well as pregnant women/lactating mothers in need of nutritional support and medical screening.
This project was contributing to a timely and urgent response to alleviate suffering and provide life-saving support to 22,017 people, of which 15,440 are refugees and 6,577 are from the host communities in 2 target villages (Maratatu & Mombasa) in Kyangwali settlement. Through an integrated GBV and protection approach, CARE and Kabarole Research & Resource Centre (KRC), were addressing immediate needs through emergency referrals for administration of PEP, etc., as well as for pregnant women and lactating mothers; distribution of dignity kits; health care and clinical management of rape and GBV cases including trauma counselling and psychosocial support; and prevention awareness raising activities. Referrals and identification of PSNs to ensure appropriate follow up. Trauma counselling is core for ensuring that refugees can stabilize and recuperate after the traumatic events they have experienced.
Despite an enabling environment for refugees in Uganda, actors are currently struggling to respond to this crisis making it highly necessary and timely for other funders to step up to avoid losing more lives. The slow response is mainly due to the scandal about “ghost refugees”. This makes the situation extremely difficult and most organizations are working with their own limited funds. KRC has experiences with GBV prevention and awareness.
KRC Set up 2 women and girls only and 2 men and boys only centres & information support desks in the reception centre and in the targeted villages. These were designated centres for GBV survivors where immediate counselling was and is provided and from where referrals are made for case management. The centres make information available on GBV referral pathways and available services and host awareness sessions. The centres provide a safe space for victims of violence and persons at risk to share experiences and provide attention to cases. Gender segregation is critical so centres for women and girls only and centres for men and boys only were set.
Awareness sessions for refugees and host communities on how to prevent violence, the rights of refugees to protection, on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and how to report it, and on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) with a focus on pre- and post-natal care. Indicator: # of people participating in awareness sessions (by gender, age and origin).
Establish system with GBV preventers offering surveillance and community dialogue. GBV preventers are men and women volunteers selected from the refugee and host communities to strengthen their ability to prevent GBV through surveillance, i.e. moving within the communities to identify and map out where GBV has occurred and conducting dialogue sessions on GBV prevention including via community drama sessions and radio. They will assist in identifying survivors, persons at high risk and pregnant women and lactating mothers in the settlement and refer them to CARE and KR&RC. GBV preventers need to demonstrate stability, reliability and willingness to learn and must have not been involved in any GBV or human rights’ violations. Indicator: # of GBV preventers active at project end (by gender, age and origin);
Additional in-depth assessment of the profile and coping strategies of “at-risk girls” and what works to prevent GBV & SEA for this group. This assessment will build on the February assessment findings to gather more information on the coping strategies of these girls and how they can best be supported. It will focus on the age group 10 to 18 who are at risk of sexual exploitation, child marriage and trafficking and will be key to reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience of this vulnerable group. Indicator: Study produced and disseminated to relevant actors to inform transition responses.
Conduct safety audits and develop safety action plans using CARE’s participatory methodology. Safety audits are participatory analyses of risks conducted with the refugee and host community that physically map where the highest risks are (e.g. near water point X, in forest Y, on the way to school Z, etc.). It looks at risks broadly and includes GBV. These audits result in agreed-upon action points, which inform community safety action plans that are jointly implemented by key stakeholders (community and refugee leaders, Refugee Welfare Councils, and implementing agencies on the ground like UNHCR)