Gender-based violence (GBV) increases during every type of emergency – whether economic crises, conflict or disease outbreaks. Pre-existing toxic social norms and gender inequalities, economic and social stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an increase of GBV in particularly at the IDPs camps where the most vulnerable people are living in.
The people in hard-to-reach areas, the internally displaced people, migrants and refugees are more at risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more susceptible to complications, owing to cramped living conditions in camps, camp-like settings and urban slums; poor nutritional and health status; limited access to sanitation, health care and reliable information and other social and cultural obstacles. With limited information and updates offered to the public in this challenging time, misinformation and a lack of understanding about the potential consequences and impacts of COVID-19 takes shape leading to widespread confusion, fear and complicating efforts to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.
For this reason, Hawa Feminist Coalition mobilized its volunteers with health background to raise public awareness campaigns to bring information on prevention and symptoms of the disease to the internally displaced people, migrants and refugees and people living in hard-to-reach areas to keep people safe and informed during the Coronavirus public health crisis.
They carry out in Garowe, Bosaso, Qardho, Herojale, Bursalah, Saho, Jidad, Kardush and Hurdiya in Puntland, Somalia. They have been coordinating and following guidelines from the state health authority, WHO Field Office and Association of Health Volunteers for verification of information about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as avoiding activity overlaps.
They use several methods such as outreach missions, using local media, social media platforms, outdoor posters and soundtracks to reach target population with accurate information about Coronavirus symptoms and preventive measures and guidelines to keep people safe and informed during the pandemic. During the campaign, they have also employed another unique method where the local community elders are engaged to further promote information sharing within their community to ensure the marginalised people and people living in hard to reach areas are aware of basic information about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted and how to prevent transmission in order to get rid of fake information/myths that may circulate by word-of-mouth.
These campaigns reached about 50,000 internally displaced people, refugees, migrants and drought affected people living in Puntand, Somalia who lacked the access to the internet or other information sources to survive the onslaught of COVID-19.
Hawa Feminist Coalition will continue the awareness rising and reaching to the people living in the remote areas or isolated areas.
Gender inequality, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services undermine many girls’ and women’s ability to meet their health and hygiene needs in Somalia. Menstruation is associated with stigma and girls feel embarrassed, often excluding themselves from school and other social activities including generating vital income to support themselves or contribute to their community. Sanitary pads are expensive and often inaccessible and some girls resort to managing their periods with pieces of rags or paper which are often unhygienic and uncomfortable causing chafing, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, and other reproductive health problems, including fatal toxic shock syndrome and infertility.
The closure of stores and public transport, rising costs and increasing economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 measures are all putting menstrual hygiene supplies out of reach for those in poverty in Somalia. Sanitary pads are expensive and often inaccessible and some girls resort to managing their periods with pieces of rags or paper which are often unhygienic and uncomfortable causing chafing, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, and other reproductive health problems.
Join us!, If you are a young girl under the age of 35 years, interesting to be part of collective feminist movement working to promote the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of girls and young women in Somalia.