Reducing risks of gender based violence and promoting self-reliance

Gender based violence (GBV) is a major global development and public health challenge Due to the unequal power dynamics among men and women, men used their power over women, in any of the different settings, including, at family, community and societal level1. Most studies revealed that, violence is happening mainly among women and girls and it is hampering their health and psychosocial well beings. The health consequences of violence are physical injuries, chronic pains, mental health problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression and gynaecological problems including sexually transmitted infections and negative birth out comes. The negative impact of violence against women and girls’ health and wellbeing, their family members and communities is found to be substantial2.

According to some empirically documented studies, in Ethiopia, violence against women is significant and as high as 35% among ever married women3. Likewise, prevalence of domestic sexual violence was found to be range from 20-78% of women in their lifetime, according to 10 studies systematic review4. The different factors can be sited in association with violence against women, girls and children; including the public deep rooted and long lived traditional insights, socio-cultural beliefs, and limited access to information (knowledge and awareness) on violence and its health related consequences. And the physical, psychosocial and economic negative consequences of these mal practices5.

The other major factors and causes of violence are the economic dependency and lack of alternative income generating skills and opportunities push young girls and youth to migrate and cross borders illegally to different abroad countries. Local cities and towns’ centres migration is another form to search for domestic work opportunities. Forced survival sex work is often time easy task to find and engaged, which predispose them for sexual, emotional and physical violence and other reproductive health related problems. Substances abuse, social stigma and discrimination, finally leads them to loss of personality and related mental health disorders6.

  1. Samarasekera, U. & Horton, R. Prevention of violence against women and girls: a new chapter. Lancet 385, 1480–1482 (2014)
  2. Ellsberg, M. et al. Prevention of violence against women and girls: What does the evidence say? The Lancet 385, 1555–1566 (2015)
  3. Central Statistical Agency [Ethiopia] and ICF International. FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA ETHIOPIA Demographic and Health Survey 2016 Key Indicators Report. Ethiopians Water Sector Development Program (2016)
  4. Semahegn, A. & Mengistie, B. Domestic violence against women and associated factors in Ethiopia; systematic review. Reprod. Health 12, 78 (2015)
  5. Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs (MoWCYA). National Strategy and Action Plan on Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) against Women and Children in Ethiopia. 1–61 (2013)
  6. Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs (MoWCYA). National Strategy and Action Plan on Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) against Women and Children in Ethiopia. 1–61 (2013)

If you need more information on some of the success stories on DICAC/RRAD GBV interventions in some regions,

Click the following links published by UN Women Ethiopia.

SASA! Faith GBV Prevention and Control Intervention of North Shoa Region By DICAC/RRAD

Program Implementation Strategy

The projects employ two major implementation strategies.
Refugee and Returnee Affairs department of EOTC-DICAC has been giving great effort to address the challenges of gender based violence/Traditional malpractices/ and HIV against women, girls and children. In partnership with UN women Ethiopia, the project has been implemented in two major phase to curb the health and psycho social sequels of GBV/HTPs.
 Raising public awareness against gender based violence and HTPs by mobilizing faith community and public figures mechanism. With this strategy selected religious and public leaders given basic awareness trainings on GBV/HTPs along with reference manuals further to reach out, teach their congregations’ on similar issues. Besides, behavioral change communication materials like, billboard and flyers messages distributed to all the training participants (#1500).
Under this strategy two projects both in North wollo and East Gojam are being successfully implemented. Besides, a total of 90 most vulnerable women and girls in the North wollo project got livelihood improvement vocational skill training and provided with small seed money to initiate their business with continued local technical support and follow-ups. In both project areas, according to the end of project assessment report made by the funding agency (UN Women and our own M&E experts; significant livelihood improvement and community behavioural changes on GBV/HTPs were documented. From both Projects success stories published at and

Religious leaders attending training in Mertolemariam town in February 2016. Photo: EOC.

The project Implementation with SASA! Faith approach also includes COVID-19/VAWG prevention and responses activities. This is a community based approach that designed to bring community behavioral change on VAW/G/HIV against women and girls. Unlike the traditional awareness rising project interventions, SASA! Faith approach use a close performance tracking tools and also it has four phases (Start, Awareness and support and action phases), each phase has its own recommended implementation periods. From the SASA reprogramming project, most vulnerable and COVID-19 affected female headed households provided with some food items and PPE(face masks) and the Debrebireahn City administration communication office produced this report, for more information follow the link:
Each implementation strategies intended to bring community behavioural and social change against the longstanding GBV/HTPs and addressing the root causes and health consequences. EOC-DICAC has a well-established, documented experience and structural presence which goes down to the grass root community level. This paves the way for better information delivery at the desired level. Thus, mobilizing religious leaders create is an opportunity to have shared information and understanding using digital storytelling as medium of training and enable to address the human sufferings and causalities mentioned and reported by local and international Media.
Moreover, faith community and influential personalities do have a positive impact in changing the traditional malpractices; violence and HTPs that are interlinked with the socio-cultural problems of the society. EOC-DICAC will sensitize the higher authority of the Church at patriarchate office, the zonal diocese and district level parish representatives to
create common understanding and to get the necessary support from different structural levels of the church and to have effective facilitation and successful implementation of this project.
Concerned government stakeholders will also have pivotal roles in the overall implementation of the proposed project activities as well as possibly revising gender and migration policy issues based on the baseline and end line survey findings of the project

Project Title: Urban refugee holistic program through anti-GBV support, health care and livelihoods program

Financed by: Act for Peace through Australian Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade (DFAT)

In 2015 it was recognized that DICAC was grappling with budgetary constraints triggered by the influx of Yemeni and South Sudanese beneficiaries and slow resolution of existing cases. Attempts had been made to get supplementary funds from the USA Embassy in 2012, which resulted in further awareness raising workshops, psychosocial support to survivors of GBV, such as counseling, household materials and financial support. This was complemented with skills training for SGBV survivors to engage them in small scale income generating activities. These interventions greatly capacitate urban refugee women both economically and socially. Even though, it was only a two-time grant DICAC were able to show strong results for many survivors of SGBV. The intention for DICAC is now to resume best practice to other urban refugee women and girls who suffer without having assistances to address basic needs. Act for Peace and DICAC worked in partnership to develop SGBV livelihoods project targeting highly vulnerable at-risk refugees through DFAT ANCP funding. This would support through a package of support that would enable confidence, social networks and service linkages for most vulnerable refugees as well as foster opportunities for livelihoods for a subset of the participants.

A total of 44 urban refugees (14 Male and 30 Female) refugees have been involved in different income generating activity after successfully completed the skill training and passed Certificate of Competency (CoC) examination prepared by the Addis Ababa Assessment and Certification agency.

The number of different types of skill training participants supported through Act for Peace since 2015-2021.

Sample Success Stories from Beneficiaries of the project

My name is Marry Chantal Furha. I am a Burundian refugee. I have four kids whom I should care. Due to problem happened in my country of origin due to the conflict, I developed mental and serious gynaecological problems. Consequently, my husband divorced me and married another lady. Since I arrived here in Ethiopia with the support of friends, the government and UNHCR put me in the urban program. For a long period of time, I have been under continuous follow up and counselling with DICAC gender officer. Currently, my health status have improved and started skill training; tailoring and fashion design by DCAC. The training helped me to socialize myself with other friends and that helped me too much in restoring confidence on me. Thanks to both DICAC staff and Act for Peace, and Australian government for the supports them provide to all refugees in Addis Ababa. Before I felt dizzy and feel helpless and totally confused, now I am okay. I request DICAC to continue doing such great work that helped refugees like me. I am doing fine and my kids are attending school and we are fine. Thank you and GOD bless you all.
Marry Chantal Furha
My name is Ahlam Mohammed. I am Yemeni refugee with three kids, one of my son has neurological problem, not able to do as other children. I suffer a lot during my Journey from Yemeni. I was totally cut-off from my neighbours and relatives due to the ongoing war in Yemen. When I arrived in Addis Ababa, UNHCR and ARRA granted me urban status and have been supported by DICAC since then. I have been informed that DICAC has a support to women and girls and other poor refugees. I went to talk to officers and they supported me many thing. My child has been provided with medicine. They also took him to hospital when he gets sick. They also give us powder milk. They also offered me to attend skill training on food preparation training and completed the training in a very good way and selected in the list of best performer trainer and I took entrepreneurship training. After completed the entrepreneurship training I was supported to do business plan and started small business. This business is good for me to help my kids, thanks to DICAC and Act for Peace, UNHCR and ARRA to give me this opportunity. When I left Yemeni I was completely disappointed and hopeless but now I revive again . thanks again DFAT, AFP and DICAC.
Ahlam Mohammed
My name is Marry Luice. I am Congolese refugee. I have four children. I have serious medical problems due to problem faced during journey from my country. I have ongoing counselling follow up at DICAC with counsellors. I have different problems. I have been under counselling by DICAC for many months. I have seen change after I started the counselling. Before not follow it but now I got transport payment from DICAC and Act for Peace and follow my counselling regularly. Thank you so much. Life is very difficult for refugees here in Addis Ababa. Such supports help refugees too much. Thank you.
Marry Luice