Gendrassa and Kaya refugee camps in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan, are now home to almost 37,000 people. Prolonged conflict and camp conditions can increase the risk of sexual and gender-based violence for women and children, as well as reduce their access to education, resources and income generating opportunities. Therefore, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence is a key element of ACTED’s camp management activities.
As well as providing training for sexual and gender-based violence outreach workers, women’s committees, and traditional leaders, ACTED recently held a 3 day training session for 39 youth - girls and boys, aged 13 to 18 years old, from both the refugee and host communities. The training sessions covered issues such as what is gender based violence, how to report it, the support available to survivors, and self-protection mechanisms that can be used.
The methods ACTED uses during the trainings are child-friendly, such as drawing, singing, small drama sessions and working in groups. ACTED’s sexual and gender-based violence project manager says:
“These trainings provide the youth with a safe space to explore their attitudes towards gender-based violence and the links to gender stereotypes; to reassess their tolerance towards it; and empower them to become actively involved in developing an environment free from violence for themselves as well as for their peers”.
The training sessions also included how to report incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, the support available to survivors, and self-protection mechanisms that can be used.
In one session, the children and adolescents were asked to draw their emotions and identify places in the camp that make them feel safe and the people they trust, as well as people and places they consider dangerous. Khamisa, 16, from Gendrassa refugee camp, who participated in the training sessions said:
“During the training I expressed the emotions I feel as a girl in the camp. Weapons make me sad. I don’t like knives and guns; I believe they are dangerous for everyone. I said I feel safe at school. We also identified a person we trust to talk to about problems and incidents involving gender based violence. I chose my teacher as I believe she would take my problems seriously and help me. Going to school makes me happy; I do not want to get married before finishing school, and after the training I know this is my right”.