Prevention and response to gender-based violence in Mopti and Douentza, Mali
Since 2012, Mali has endured drought, armed rebellion, a political coup and French military intervention, all of which have undermined the country's stability and security, leaving a population especially vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV). GBV is a glaring indicator of persistent inequality between men and women and represents a breach of fundamental rights to life, liberty, security, dignity, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity. GBV exists in all forms but the most severe and common include: rape, sexual assault, physical assault, forced marriage, denial of resources/opportunities/services, and psychological/emotional violence. Responding to and preventing GBV requires the prioritization of the survivors' best interests and strict compliance with four guiding principles: security, respect, confidentiality, and non-discrimination.
With funding from UN Women, Family Care International — followed by the FCI Program of MSH — led a community-based, 18-month project in Douentza and Mopti, Mali, that offered holistic medical, psychosocial and legal support to GBV survivors; educated community members on women's rights and GBV; recruited faith and traditional leaders to champion women's rights and the end of GBV; examined regional policy and laws to prevent and address GBV; and established protection teams and an early-warning system to call out human rights violations and instances of GBV.