This year, we witnessed a significant rise in reported cases of Violence Against Women, and Children (VAWC), in our communities. Looking at the National Child Helpline data, about 100 more cases were received every month in 2023 compared to 2022. This surge signals a heightened awareness of the moral decay embedded in our cultural practices. People are stepping up, speaking out, and collectively striving for a better society.
This week our Chief Executive, Kiiya JK held discussions on VAWC with Hon. Dr. Dorothy Gwajima, the government Minister responsible for protecting women and children in our country. In that discussion, both the Minister and our Chief Executive identified a crucial focus for the way forward in 2024: 'Personal Responsibility and Awareness.'
'We're all responsible for one another and accountable for our actions. It's time to amplify our efforts in raising awareness about VAWC and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and its pervasive effects on our communities,' - Minister Gwajima.
Photo: Minister Dorothy Gwajima (centre), Kiiya JK (right) and Maryam Elhaj (left) discussing VAWC matters, December 2023.
Their discussion also acknowledged the need to shed light on the dangers posed by some of our cultural practices like Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), particularly to our young and adult females. A collective consensus was to explore the positive aspects of these traditions to mend the decaying moral fabric of our societies.
Out of that discussion a powerful idea emerged - the Collective Basket Fund. This initiative aims to pool resources from the public to support victims of violence, a critical need our frontline response teams grapple with. The biggest challenge? Funding to sustain crucial services like providing temporary safe houses and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for those affected.
Soon, this fund will be open for donations from the general public. Your contribution can make a significant impact in offering safety, support, and a path to healing for victims of violence. Let's join hands in turning this idea into a force for positive change. Stay tuned for more details on how you can be part of this vital initiative. #CollectiveBasketFund #EndVAWC #SupportSurvivors
Written by Maryam Elhaj, #SasaMwisho Project Officer