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To mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the British Embassy Mogadishu last week announced the launch of Gaashaan, a £15 million project to help support survivors of

sexual and gender-based violence.  

The Gaashaan project (which in Somali means “shield”), will reach over 117,000 people, offering improved access to specialised protection services for communities in Somalia impacted by El Niño. It will also work to empower communities, working with them to prevent sexual and gender-based violence and other forms of violence impacting women and children. The project will also help tackle child protection concerns, all of which are compounded and increased by conflict and climate change occurrences.

Speaking at the time of the launch, Development Director, British Embassy Mogadishu, Damon Bristow, said:

This is another important milestone to address gender based violence and the harm it causes. It also shows UK’s continued commitment to support Somali women and girls so they can reach their full potential.

In the first six months, the project will respond to the impacts of El Niño, aiming to reach about 5,000 women and children directly impacted by severe flooding in Somalia. 

The project will run for five years and will be delivered by a consortium of six partners led by Save the Children working alongside the International Rescue Committee, CARE International and four National NGOs: Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), Somali Women and Development Centre (SWDC), Somali Women’s Studies Centre (SWSC) and Gargaar Relief and Development Organisation (GREDO).  

Khadra Jama, Director, Gaashaan Consortium, said in a statement:

Somali women and children face numerous challenges including a protracted security situation in the country coupled with the impact of climate change in Somalia. The United Kingdom’s support comes as Somalia needs it most, as millions of Somalis have been displaced due to flooding.  

We are grateful to the British Embassy for providing Somali women and children, along with other vulnerable groups, with much needed and timely support.  

Women and children are the ones who suffer the most during humanitarian crises like El Niño and this assistance will give them immediate protection and support. Photo by Olavthunny, Wikimedia commons.