International Women’s Day

Case Study: Localized efforts to prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities in Haiti

‘This project has changed my life’ – Mona Charles Lamande, a senior teacher at Pazapa Center

Date: Friday, March 8, 2019

Training for staff on ending violence against women with disabilities. Photo: Beyond Borders.
Participants in a Beyond Borders training on preventing and ending violence against women and girls with disabilities. Photo: Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders (Depase Fwontyè yo in Creole) in Haiti has identified a gap in existing knowledge and focus on the intersection of violence against women and disability. Supported by a grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), Beyond Borders is implementing a project ensuring that women and girls with disabilities are included in the Haitian adaptation and implementation of the innovative SASA! methodology developed by Raising Voices, a Uganda-based organization, to prevent violence against women and girls.

After the successful adaptation studied by Raising Voices, which included not just translating materials, but adjusting images and activities for the Haitian context, Beyond Borders is continuing this work through implementing its SASA!-inspired methodology, Power to Girls. For the current project, Beyond Borders in collaboration with two organizations experienced in disability rights in Haiti – Pazapa and Productions Théâtre Toupatou – is working to ensure that women and girls living with disabilities enjoy greater social inclusion and improved protection from violence.

Juliane Noelus, a woman living with a physical disability and working with Productions Théâtre Toupatou, said: ‘I have learned about... what types of support to offer to a woman or girl with a disability who is experiencing violence. It is important for us to create spaces accessible to everyone, especially people with disabilities.’

Adapted SASA! training materials for the Haitian context. photo: Beyond Borders
Materials adapted for the Haitian context for use in community mobilization plans. Photo: Beyond Borders

The project, launched in September 2018, has included a staff training focused on disability rights and the legal framework in Haiti, including: training on violence against women and girls with disabilities; interviews and focus group discussions with experts and women and girls living with disabilities; and participatory creation of dramas, posters and training sessions designed to complement the Haitian SASA! adaptation and the Power to Girls methodology.

This training has helped me to learn a lot of things in the field of disability rights, [and] in our work to prevent violence against women and girls”, said Bernadine Jean, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Beyond Borders.

Beyond Borders will integrate these materials through its community mobilization plans, as well as partner with eight additional organizations which will use the newly created material that is inclusive of women and girls with disabilities and appropriate for the Haitian context.

One staff member Mona Charles Lamande, a senior teacher at Pazapa Center, said: “As a teacher, I have always defended the rights of children living with disabilities to access quality education. I have more knowledge now about violence against women and girls… I have taken it up as a cause.” 

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The UN Trust Fund supported Raising Voices beginning in 2010, and from 2015-2018 to study the adaptation of the SASA! methodology to fit different contexts. One of the three adaptation study sites included Beyond Borders in Haiti.