WOMEN'S PROTECTION AND LIVELIHOODS PROGRAM
There are currently over 107,000 displaced people, over half (54%) of whom are women, from CAR in Southern Chad as a result of the ongoing conflict in CAR which began in December 2012 and continues today. During humanitarian crises, women and girls’ exposure to gender-based violence (GBV) is significantly heightened, often more so during displacement.
The IRC’s Women’s Protection and Livelihoods Program in Southern Chad contributed to GBV response, to safely restore livelihoods and to prevent and reduce the risk of GBV, including sexual exploitation of women and girls, or spending time in areas where they are more vulnerable to search for provisions, which could expose women and girls to further risks of violence.
The Women’s Protection and Livelihoods Program combined provision of comprehensive services for GBV survivors, namely case management, psychosocial support and clinical care, community awareness on GBV, with cash transfers and income-generating activities. The program was carried out between September 2014 and September 2016 in two sites in Southern Chad, Maingama and Kobiteye. Specifically, the program acted to:
• Train community outreach workers;
• Raise community awareness on gender-based violence and available services;
• Conduct safety audits in two sites;
• Establish women’s centers in two sites with activities and safe spaces, including:
o recreational and group psychosocial activities for 3,071 women and girls;
o case management and psychosocial support to 542 survivors of GBV at women centers
• Provide dignity kits to 4,327 women and girls
• Equip and train 34 service providers, including health staff (clinical care for sexual violence survivors), police and religious leaders;
• Establish partnerships with other organizations to provide comprehensive health and GBV services;
• Engage in gender discussion groups in which 256 couples participated;
• Provide 250 vulnerable women with livelihoods support:
o Unconditional cash transfers in the first year of the project to complement World Food Program food rations;
o Skills training on income generating activities (IGAs) and cash transfers as support to implement a business plan in the second year of the project.
The vulnerability status of the 250 women selected for livelihoods support was determined by community members who were given guidance as to how to select beneficiaries. Beneficiaries had to meet at least one of five key criteria:
o A survivor of GBV with poor access to basic food items
o Female head of household with four or more children under the age of five
o Older women with poor access to basic food items
o Widows with young children under the age of five
o Women and girls at risk of forced marriage
The IRC engaged both women’s protection and empowerment (WPE) specialized staff and livelihoods staff to assure the two components of the program were implemented successfully. However, the IRC aimed to establish an integrated approach bringing together the women’s protection and livelihoods components throughout the program cycle. In this way, staff could answer questions on both components for the beneficiaries, fill in for each other when needed and have a better understanding of how various aspects of programming needed to work together.