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Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Melkadida and Jigjiga Refugee Camps: Collaborative efforts for Empowerment and protection

Gender-based violence remains a pressing issue in Melkadida and Jigjiga refugee camps in Ethiopia, where residents, particularly women and girls, face heightened vulnerability due to disrupted social structures and limited resources. However, collaborative efforts led by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in partnership with the Czech Republic, are making strides in addressing gender-based violence through comprehensive services, awareness sessions, and the establishment of safe spaces. The initiatives aim to empower survivors of gender-based violence as well as survivors of natural and human-made disasters. The ultimate goal is to create a safer environment and foster the economic empowerment and social equality of women and girls in the camps.

Melkadida and Jigjiga are refugee camps located in Ethiopia that have been affected by gender-based violence issues. These camps serve as temporary settlements for refugees who have fled their home countries due to conflict, persecution, or other forms of violence.

The Melkadida refugee camp hosting 34,357 refugees is situated in the Somali region of Ethiopia, near the border with Somalia. It was established in 2010 and hosts a significant number of refugees, primarily from Somalia. The camp has faced numerous challenges, including overcrowding, limited resources, and inadequate infrastructure, which have contributed to the vulnerability of its residents, particularly women and girls.

Jigjiga, on the other hand, is the capital city of the Somali region in Ethiopia and hosts a refugee camp as well. The Jigjiga refugee camp hosting 39,286 refugees from various countries, including Somalia, Eritrea, and South Sudan. Similar to Melkadida, the camp has experienced difficulties in providing adequate protection and support to its residents, resulting in increased risks of gender- based violence.

Various gender-based violence are being practiced at the camps which includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, as well as harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. In the refugee camps at Melkadida and Jigjiga, the disruption of social structures, displacement, and the scarcity of resources can exacerbate existing gender inequalities and increase the prevalence of gender-based violence. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees assessment on Ethiopia refugees in 2022, approximately half (50%) of the surveyed refugees reported experiencing gender-based violence, with women and girls being disproportionately affected.

As a funding partner, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic has made effort towards supporting the fight against gender-based violence within the collaborative efforts of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Through this contribution, the Czech Republic have made a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable individuals, particularly women and girls in the refugee camps at Melkadida and Jigjiga. The support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic has enabled the provision of comprehensive services to gender-based violence survivors, including personalized case management, essential material assistance, and access to critical resources like physical protection, medical care, and legal aid. The collective efforts of many with the guidance of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have already reached almost 14 000individuals through extensive community engagement activities, including awareness sessions, with a notable emphasis on empowering women and girls.  Additionally, more than 200 women and adolescent girls have benefited from skill-building initiatives and recreational activities, fostering their resilience and self-sufficiency.

The establishment and effective management of women and girls friendly spaces have also provided with safe havens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is proud to contribute to these crucial initiatives, working alongside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other partners to combat gender-based violence and create a safer environment for those affected. The Czech Republic firmly believes that by combatting gender-based violence and creating an environment conducive to the well-being of women and girls at the camps, we can contribute to their empowerment and overall safety.


MelkadidaUNHCR 130 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Apr 23, 2024