Posted by: Ana Monroy | April 17, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

Nairobi, Kenya. The Gender Based Violence working group under the urban refugee protection network, organized the International Women Day celebrations which were held on 15th March 2013.

Urban Refugee women consist of 49.5 % of the refugee population registered in Nairobi. Persons of concern to UNHCR are mainly from Somalia, DRC, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Great Lakes countries.

Women refugees in Kenya are exposed to GBV due to various factors including socio-economic status of the refugee women, substance abuse by alleged perpetrators, lack of reporting of GBV, as well as harmful cultural norms amongst the refugee communities.

The event was organized in order to educate refugee women on the need to report gender based violence incidences taking place in their areas of residence, as well as highlight the legal aspects of GBV response in terms of facilitation of access to justice for GBV survivors.

The event focused on the UN theme, “A promise is a promise; time to end violence against women”. Partners under the GBV working group of the URBAN REFUGEE PROTECTION NETWORK mobilized refugee women from different Nationalities residing in different areas of Nairobi to conduct training on the importance of timely reporting of GBV incidences, and the legal channels of follow up of GBV cases in prosecution of alleged perpetrators of violence against women.

Posted by: Ana Monroy | April 16, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

Tehran Field Unit commemorated International Women’s Day on Sunday and Monday 10th and 11th March 2013, at the Reception area a session was conducted for male refugees to raise awareness of the consequences of early marriage.

Posted by: Ana Monroy | April 16, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

In Kerman Sub Office, Iran an awareness session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence was conducted by Maryam Haraji Esfahani, SoK’s Field Associate. During the session UNHCR staff introduced issues related to Health, Education, Women Self‐Reliance and the importance of women presence in social activities. Refugee women shared their views and ideas on the roles of UNHCR and themselves in accomplishing these important goals.

Posted by: Ana Monroy | April 16, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

In Shiraz, Sarvestan Settlement, Iran, The Protection Associate opened International Women’s Day ceremony welcoming all women and men refugees. During his speech he clarified that violence is not a women’s issue and that men have a key role to play in making society safe for everyone, he mentioned that violence against women affects all and that men and women must be part of the solution.

He invited everyone to work to end violence against women and emphasized that it is time for preventing and responding to sexual and gender‐based violence against women, men, girls and boys.

Iran 5 Iran 6 Iran 7

Posted by: Ana Monroy | April 16, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

UNHCR sub Office Mashhad in Iran commemorated International Women’s Day on March 7th. The Head of the Office welcomed women refugees at the office and congratulate them for the special occasion. He briefly explained about the roles of women and men in society as well as present inequalities and the potential reasons for violence against women, he finally indicated that International Women’s Day is an occasion to recognize women’s role and prevent abuse and violence against them.

Thereafter, two awareness-raising sessions on Domestic Violence and Gender equality were conducted by the office Psychological counselors. The sessions were warmly welcomed by the audience who actively engaged in a friendly debate recognizing sensitive issues surrounding gender based violence and women’s’ inequalities. Finally UNHCR staff introduced the services provided by the office of survivors of Gender Based Violence.

Posted by: Ana Monroy | March 8, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

Picture for the blog

A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women is the 2013 United Nations theme for International Women’s Day. This is very fitting for UNHCR, given the heightened emphasis we are placing on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence against women, men, girls and boys, and improving access to justice for survivors. A good example of this struggle is the recently-launched SGBV e-learning. Only during the 16 Days of Activism 2012, 660 staff members from 144 offices around the world completed at least the first two modules of the new e-Learning!

This year the Gender Equality Unit prepared an exhibit in UNHCR HQ in Geneva presenting some inspiring examples of work undertaken by colleagues around the world to promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and girls, with a particular focus on preventing and responding to SGBV. These cover a range of initiatives, from providing psychological counseling to SGBV survivors, to offering vocational training courses for women, to developing community task forces for the reporting and follow-up of SGBV cases, and to organizing sessions on prevention, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

These good practices presented in the exhibit were collected last year, and are available on UNHCR Refworld. All colleagues are strongly encouraged to continue sharing examples of UNHCR’s work in the field to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment with the Gender Equality Unit. The sharing of good practices is an important way of recognizing the excellent efforts of colleagues, and also provides a valuable source of inspiration and motivation for others.

You can check some inspiring field practices on:

Posted by: Ana Monroy | February 13, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum

International Women’s Day is approaching on 8 March, and this year’s global theme will be The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.
We should celebrate the progress we achieved in terms of the rights of women, but remain vigilant and persistent for further sustainable change.

The theme fits well with UNHCR’s ongoing efforts to promote greater understanding, awareness and commitment to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This year our focus will be on the promotion of the collection and dissemination of good practices being developed in the field. The Gender Equality Unit collected a number of practices which focus on the rights of women last year. And UNHCR wants to encourage all operations to continue sharing practices with us – both as a part of International Women’s Day and on an ongoing basis as new practices are developed – as a way to inspire and motivate others.


Teenage mother in YEP center

Teenage mother in a Youth Empowerment Center (YEP), Kenya

Check out some projects directed to the promotion of the rights of women developed in UNHCR’s operations:

Community centre for refugee women and children (Morocco)

SGBV protection and social services programme – community task forces (Zambia)

 Psychotherapeutic support for women and their families (Bolivia)

 Community day care centers managed by refugee women (Costa Rica)

Protection network of women’s organizations and safe houses for SGBV survivors (Ecuador)

 Legal aid provided by Law students: access to justice (Colombia)   

Additionally, in 2013 the United Nations has adopted the theme A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women, which is also well-suited to our critical efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in all regions of the world.

The International Women’s Day is an excellent opportunity to build momentum around the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Let’s work for it to happen!


Posted by: Ana Monroy | February 5, 2013

16 Days of Activism: Ottawa, Canada

Activities in UNHCR office in Ottawa


As part of the 2012 UNHCR awareness campaign against sexual and gender based violence, the Ottawa office partnered last year with the Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO), a local not for profit organization that provides settlement services to women immigrants and their families. The event that was organized on December 7, 2012 included the participation of other settlement agencies and their clients in Ottawa, as well as UNHCR staff and interns.


The event was inaugurated with welcoming words by representatives of IWSO and UNHCR followed by activities referring to the 2012 theme and refreshments.
Activities included: a wishing well where participants wrote a wish for the well-being of women, a mural to draw and/or write what they conceptualized as a home; and a paper chain with different meanings of this year’s theme. The art work was displayed at IWSO and their office was decorated with this year’s theme. The occasion ended with a warm gathering around food to share experiences and thoughts on the topic.


Posted by: Ana Monroy | January 15, 2013

16 Days of Activism in Zambia

A Child Friendly Message for the 16 Days

Gender Based Violence GBV is a reality not only for the perpetrators and the survivors often times the reality of GBV lives on the minds of children who bear witness. This is especially sad because children often times cannot express themselves as fully as adults. Children also cannot understand why it happens and how to get help.

In the year 2012 to mark the 16 days of activism against GBV many interventions were planned in the Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement among them was an art competition. Children aged between 12 and 16 were asked to participate in an art competition. The objective was to hear from the children what they think GBV is and how it affects them. The children were drawn from the Anti- GBV club that meets every Wednesday after school hours to stage drama performances and to talk about other GBV based issues.

Picture4 Picture5

The drawings tell the sad story of the helplessness children often feel as a result of GBV. The perpetrators are always depicted as larger in comparison and more powerful. It is hoped that such interventions will serve as an opening for discussions with the children on the GBV referral system, the options for accessing justice and counselling.


Posted by: Ana Monroy | January 14, 2013

16 Days of Activism 2012 in the field: Angola

Promoting access to justice for victims of SGBV in Angola

Despite the prevalence of SGBV in all regions of the world, levels of reporting are low. Numerous cultural and practical barriers prevent survivors from coming forward, and impunity for perpetrators is widespread. This has prompted UNHCR to intensify the efforts to improve access to justice for survivors, often in difficult settings.

In Angola, UNHCR took the 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity to promote the Law on Domestic Violence approved by the Angolan Parliament in July 2011. Such a law represents a meaningful step further in preventing and fighting violence “at home”, as it was finally criminalized.

UNHCR Angola is working close to the National Criminal Investigation Police to raise awareness about the law amongst communities, especially amongst those settled in remote areas. Copies of a poster addressing the law are also being distributed in police stations, hospitals, schools and border areas of Angola.


Older Posts »