Mogadishu(SONNA)— A four-day workshop to sensitize communities on how to tackle Sexual and Gender-Based violence (SGBV) ended in Beletweyne on Thursday, with a call to participants to play a more active role in bringing perpetrators to justice.
The workshop, organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), attracted over 70 participants including members of the Somali Police Force, law enforcement agencies, young people, women and religious leaders. Also present were people from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
The workshop focused on the importance of gender equality and mainstreaming as preventions to SGBV which is prevalent in many communities in Somalia.
Addressing the participants, AMISOM Gender Officer, Stella Maranga said over the last three years, AMISOM had developed a response framework on how the Somali Police Force could tackle cases of sexual and gender based violence. “The unique thing about this framework is that it relies on the participation of all the community members in order for it to be effective. It looks at what role the elders, women and, importantly, the police can play to curb cases of gender-based violence” she said.
Philemon Dantim of AMISOM Police said he was impressed by the large turnout of women at the workshop, given the sensitivity of the subject of sexual and gender-based violence and the perception of the community about the status and role of women. The aim, he said, was to create a pool of champions who will constantly work to prevent and report cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
Dahabo Hassan Ahmed, Hirshabelle Presidential Advisor on Women’s Affairs said that violations against vulnerable people in the community could be dealt with if the capacity of institutions like the police was strengthened.
“Previously, we have had many cases of gender-based violence due to the lack of an effective
justice system, `` she said, “but we want to reiterate our resolve to tackle this problem now more than ever.”
AMISOM regularly conducts capacity building training for the Somali Police Force to improve skills in protecting vulnerable members of the community, especially women and children.