Jordan: Refugee women and girls take back control of their lives
"Survivor-centered services are crucial in helping women recover from trauma, better cope with stress, and develop the life skills necessary to take control of their future." - Ruba Hattar, Grants and Partnerships Manager at Collateral Repair Project
Refugee women and girls face particularly high risks of gender-based violence in their countries of origin, in transit and where they end up due to the intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination they face as well as the lack of access to support services, economic opportunities and information about their rights. In Jordan, like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this situation as it has proved to be a key factor in increased rates of domestic violence and decreased access to multisectoral services.
With support of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), the international NGO Collateral Repair Project is leading a project called “Women Empowerment & Gender Based Violence Prevention in Urban Amman” to address and prevent the different forms of violence faced by refugee and internally displaced women and girls in Jordan’s capital.
The Collateral Repair Project (CRP) is using a holistic approach to sustainably and simultaneously address the economic, psychological and social dimensions of women’s empowerment. This combines survivor-centred community engagement, economic assistance and psychosocial programmes to fully empower women to heal, take back control of their lives and prevent further violence.
CRP conducts interactive training seminars at the community level to raise awareness of gender-based violence, as well as leadership skills training to equip both men and women to act against violence at their own level and to become strong community leaders.
“I joined the 'leadership in action' programme ... to introduce refugees to open and free spaces available to them ... That day marked a turning point in my life.” noted Fareed, an Iraqi male participant of the project.
Since the start of the project in 2021, project participants have developed stronger coping mechanisms through improved communication and conflict resolution skills. Ruba Hattar, Grants and Partnerships Manager at CRP, explains: “By providing the necessary tools and mentorship, CRP helps build a community of qualified advocates and agents for change”, who lead prevention initiatives at their own level.
Refugee and internally displaced women and girls require comprehensive and survivor-centred essential multisectoral support services, such as mental health and psychosocial assistance. Consequently, CRP has developed its helpdesks to better connect community members to information and services, while streamlining referrals with other organizations. This has enabled women survivors and those at risk of violence to recover from trauma and interact in a safe environment.
As of today, over 1,500 community members have received assistance through the helpdesk and over 100 women and girls have reported feeling safe, with an improved sense of wellbeing.
In addition, CRP provides various livelihood activities (vocational and business skills training, income generating opportunities) to women and girls, including handicraft production. This reduces economic factors that contribute to gender-based violence and empowers survivors to leave abusive relationships.
Over 110 women have already taken part in social enterprise and livelihood courses, which has improved their self-confidence and mindset.
In addition, 750 women, mostly from female-headed households, have received short-term and targeted cash assistance to address their immediate needs. Ruba Hattar explains: “For women survivors, this is a stepping stone to rebuilding their lives”.
By empowering women at different levels through multiple survivor-centred services, CRP is tackling the root causes of violence and reducing risk factors, therefore preventing further violence against women and girls.
Amélie Gontharet, Knowledge Management and Research Analyst at the UN Trust Fund explains: “The holistic approach used by CRP highlights the crucial role civil society organizations play in preventing violence in their communities, creating a link between survivors and services, but also empowering women and girl to lead prevention initiatives.”
To learn more about the prevention of violence against women and girls, check out our Learning from Practice series and explore the 10 identified pathways to prevention: click here.