Reaching Survivors of Violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Gender-based violence affects all cultures in every part of the world; the forms of abuse are as nuanced as the reasons behind it. Thus, solutions must be just as nuanced. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has a long track record of developing community-based interventions that help address GBV and ensure that women and girls' sexual rights are protected.
“Many women who have suffered from sexual violence are left silent and afraid of the consequences if they speak out about their experience. Community-based approaches ensure that women and girls are not put through a further cycle of abuse after their trauma. It ensures that they are supported through access to appropriate and sensitive health services, legal advice, and counseling."
Tewodros Melesse, IPPF Director-General
Below are some examples of IPPF's work in action, specifically in the Middle East region.
"Research from 2008 shows that 87% of women in Afghanistan have suffered from some kind of violence."
-Seri Wendoh, Senior Technical Officer, Rights and Gender, IPPF
The Japan Trust Fund has assisted IPPF to implement programs which empower women and positively impact their lives. Delivered through IPPF's Member Association, the Afghan Family Guidance Association, these programs have resulted in a huge reduction in HIV vulnerability, by combatting gender-based violence.
Learn more about the program here.
“I was given in Swara when I was 14 years old. The man I was given to has married another woman. He has sold my daughters and would beat me regularly for resisting prostitution.”
The Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) challenges the acceptance of gender-based violence and swara (“trading” young girls as compensation for a crime committed by a family member) in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The consequences of swara on girls and young women are serious–most girls are victims of forced child marriage, and they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and early pregnancy, high-risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, and transmission of STIs and HIV. Living without autonomy, girls are unable to visit a doctor, clinic, or nurse without permission. In 2010, Rahnuma-FPAP reached 211 swara girls, 283 survivors of gender-based violence, and 319 child brides, providing more than 50,000 sexual and reproductive health and counseling services. Tackling these sensitive issues in this environment is a brave but necessary step to improve girls’ lives.
Learn more at the program here.