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The role of the community in preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence

Jamaa Muhumed is a community leader in Dagahaley camp, in Daadab, Kenya having lived in the camp since 1991. Jamaa was chosen to be a Block Leader due to his experience living in the camp for decades and his good leadership skills.

Posted on 28 Dec 2022

Jamaa got to learn about the Bi-fora program when he referred a case to Danish Refugee Council (DRC) that had been mediated by religious leaders and elders in the block but did not resolve amicably.

Through this encounter, he began to refer different types of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and protection cases to the office and built a close relationship with DRC caseworkers from where he learnt about the sessions from a DRC community volunteer.

Upon learning that this platform served as a space for leaders to discuss issues about matters concerning violence against women and girls in the community, power imbalances, exploitation, and abuse, along with its focus on tackling various forms of GBV within the camp, as well as fostering peer learning and mentorship, heightened his enthusiasm to join the forums.

As a leader I have really benefited from the sessions and it important because the community members look up to me and also serve as a change maker in the community. I am part of the leaders that mediate cases at the block level and before I used to think that every case can be mediated including rape and defilement cases. Through the sessions, I got to understand that some cases can be mediated but cases such as rape, defilement, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) cases cannot be mediated at the block level. We need to also respect the rights of the survivors and ensure that their needs are met.

/  Jamaa, a community leader in Dagahaley camp

I also got to learn about SEA and how it occurs in the community especially at the block level. They’re very vulnerable individuals in the blocks that can be easily exploited by the leaders when it comes to seeking jobs such as casual jobs and cleaners. Through the sessions, I and other leaders in the sessions understood that it is wrong, and the consequences associated with the act. I also urge DRC to continue sensitizing more leaders on SEA and GBV.

/  Jamaa, a community leader in Dagahaley camp

As Jamaa concludes, he states that he will continue helping people in reducing conflict by mediating cases, referring all GBV cases to DRC for further case management and create awareness on GBV and SEA.

Jamaa appreciates the forums as it brought leaders from different camp sections together “which is something that really happens unless partners want to disseminate information to leaders” as stated by Jamaa.

The forums provided a platform for leaders to gain knowledge on forms of GBV, effects, root causes and consequences as well as prevention and response to GBV.

Funded by EU Humanitarian Aid

Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
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