RESPOND is working to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in Guinea. We recently concluded a project to support sexual violence survivors from the September 28, 2009, political upheaval with medical care, psychosocial services, and social and economic reintegration.
The project vastly surpassed its benchmarks for the numbers of September 28 survivors whose needs were assessed and addressed, reflecting the enormous ongoing need for services following the violence. In total, the needs of 179 survivors were assessed (the goal was to reach 50), of whom 87 received medical care, 50 received psychosocial services from a psychiatrist (the goal was to reach 25), and 153 received support from social workers to help them reconcile with family members who had rejected them after the incident (the goal was to reach 25).
In collaboration with the government and local nongovernmental organizations, we also built local capacity to prevent GBV by addressing gender. Local officials selected well-respected community members to serve on GBV prevention committees, including religious leaders, youth leaders, and women's group leaders. RESPOND conducted two five-day trainings for 110 members of the 10 community-level GBV prevention committees. Following the training, each GBV prevention committee conducted at least four GBV awareness-raising sessions per month, including sermons, community discussions, and dramas. They reached a total of 8,892 men and women over a four-month period.
To improve the health sector's response to sexual violence (SV), RESPOND and the Ministry of Health (MOH) conducted five-day trainings in SV response for a total of 53 health care providers. After pilot-testing the curriculum on GBV services, RESPOND and the MOH revised it and the MOH then validated it as their first national curriculum on the care of SV survivors. The MOH is seeking funding to scale up provider training with the curriculum.
Next Steps for FY 2012-2013
As a follow-on activity, RESPOND is working to integrate GBV services into existing family planning services. Supported by the Gender Team at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the project is developing a training curriculum for family planning providers and staff to deepen their understanding of GBV, gender norms, and ways to provide better reproductive health care. The curriculum is designed to introduce active listening techniques and GBV counseling and safety planning, as needed, for family planning clients at two Association Guinéenne pour le Bien-être Familial (AGBEF) clinics in Conakry. Formative research conducted in June 2012 highlighted that providers and clients welcomed the option of integrating GBV into family planning services. However, there are several constraints:
RESPOND's work has been tailored to reflect those realities. The curriculum will be introduced in the clinics in early 2013 and monitored for impact over six months.