Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence

by Stepping Stones International
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Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence
Covid-19 Freedom from Fear & Violence

SSI continued our fight against gender-based violence [GBV] and child abuse as cases continue to sore amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Our work this quarter focused on building awareness and understanding through a number of prevention initiatives, while also increasing our direct support to victims and survivors. Although it’s been challenging to meet the increased demand, the pandemic resulted in a nationwide call to action to mobilize a response against GBV and we have good news to report!


GBV DIALOGUE WITH YOUNG MOTHERS
SSI delivered focused dialogue sessions for young mothers as part of our ramped up psychosocial outreach and support services in response to the pandemic. In collaboration with representatives from the Department of Gender Affairs, SSI counsellors facilitated support group sessions for young mothers in the Khatleng District. Young mothers were able to discuss challenges they face that have been exacerbated since the pandemic such as co-parenting, caring for their own mental health, and child support. In addition to getting the opportunity to connect to each other and build community, participants were also referred to ongoing services and resources as needed and even received sanitary pads thanks to a thoughtful donor.

 

GBV & CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION AIR TIME  
As a leader in GBV and Child Protection Advocacy in Botswana, SSI increased our efforts this year to meet the urgent need for more action to disrupt worsening violence in the region. SSI’s very own Chirwah Mahloko, Human Rights Advisor, sat on a panel of experts and changemakers to discuss the Sex Offenders Registery Bill 2020 and other related interventions the government is rolling out to address GBV. The segment aired on Botswana TV and included many key officials, including representatives of the Ministry of Defense, Justice & Security, Administration of Justice, Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, and Botswana Police Services among others.

SSI leaders were also featured on GABZ FM, the primary radio station in Botswana to give our input on the days’ most pressing challenges surrounding child abuse prevention. We reviewed a critical issue in addressing child protection: Is Corporal Punishment a solution to child abuse or does it condition youth to perpetuate violence against each other in today's society? We had the opportunity to unpack this topic and explore the importance of balancing culture and tradition while pushing against these norms to create change and increase safety. Through social media we also engaged our community in this discussion to encourage the conversation within the community.


GBV & THE COURTS
SSI has been steadfast in our pursuit of justice for victims of violence, a major component of our Freedom from Fear campaign. Through this initiative we provide support and advocacy to help victims feel ‘free from fear’ of reporting and free from fear of having to watch their perpetrator escape justice. We are especially thrilled to report that the Government of Botswana [GoB] has launched 25 gender violence courts as an effort to increase a timelier justice response and hold perpetrators accountable. This decision by the GoB is not only a concrete action that can reduce violence, but it’s a symbolic gesture that signifies an important shift in how the government and the public view gender issues. Nearly 70% of women in Botswana report having experienced physical or sexual abuse, which is more than double the global average, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF). We still have a long way to go to eradicating GBV but swift, accessible justice for victims is a significant step in the right direction.

Stay tuned to SSI's updates in 2021 as we launch our Freedom from Fear docudrama film!

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GBV & PSYCHOSOCIAL SERVICES

As part of our effort to combat the ill-effects of Covid-19 in our communities SSI teamed up with the Department of Gender Affairs in Mochudi to hold multiple weekend training sessions on Gender-Based Violence Prevention [GBV]. These sessions were targeted towards grannies, who are often the primary caregivers for vulnerable children throughout the country. And we all know, grannies are the best at giving the most sound advice! So who better than grannies to learn about different ways they can influence the prevention of GBV.

As we know, The COVID19 virus has impacted more than just our social lives but mental health as well. During this time, SSI had the opportunity to provide psycho-social support to Form 3 students and their teachers at our partner school; Bakgatle Junior Secondary School. We heard from participants about what challenges they’re facing as a result of the pandemic and worked with them on coping skills to manage their stress. 

We took psychosocial support an even bigger step forward through our partnership with other NGOs to provide counseling services through WhatsApp! As part of our ongoing ‘Freedom From Fear’ initiative, we are doing our part to make it easy for GBV survivors and others to report abuse and access services through one simple, quick link!

 

SOCIAL SUPPORT DAY

In partnership with Angels at Work, we hosted a “Social Support Day” inclusive of mental health services for our beneficiaries following a recent national lockdown. We prepared a soup kitchen and distributed food to participants while holding debriefing sessions to discuss the impact the Covid-19 virus as had on their lives. The event was well-attended (but socially distant!).

 

Whew! We sure have been busy, but there is still more work to do! We continue to see increasing demand for counseling support services, food and other basic items. We’ve expanded our services and access points, but there are still many unmet needs, sadly we’ve had to turn people away. Help us double our impact this month through GlobalGiving’s Little by Little campaign so no child or family gets left behind. For five days straight (Sept. 14-18), online donations up to $50 will be matched at 50%, and matching funds will not run out! This is a great opportunity to double your good and to share our project with others. As always, thanks for your support, we’ll see you next time!

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Organization Information

Stepping Stones International

Location: Salt Lake Cty, UT - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SteppingStonesIntl
Project Leader:
Lisa Jamu
Salt Lake Cty, UT United States
$450 raised of $7,000 goal
 
21 donations
$6,550 to go
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