Ongoing conflicts in central and eastern Africa continue to displace thousands of people, a majority of whom are women and children. The displaced report horrific cases of sexual and gender-based violence which they face at home, while on the run and even in the places where they eventually find refuge. Sexual violence continues to be used as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in South Sudan.
Preventing and stopping sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in humanitarian emergencies is a priority for the European Union. At Kakuma refugee camp in north-western Kenya, the EU funds the Danish Refugee Council to provide care and offer income generation opportunities to survivors and refugees at risk of SGBV. Kakuma hosts 186 001 refugees and asylum seekers, a majority from South Sudan, and others from Somalia, DRC, and other countries in the region.
The Danish Refugee Council engages men in exploring culturally sensitive ways to prevent and stop violence against women. The program also cares for male survivors of SGBV and for ostracized members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2017, the European Union allocated almost €22 million in humanitarian aid for the prevention and response to SGBV worldwide.
By Bertha Wangari, Information and Communications Assistant, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).