A few facts:
35% of women in the world have been subjected to physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Most of these acts were committed by their intimate partners. (UN Women, 2017)
750 million women and girls have been forced to marry before age 18. (UNICEF, 2017)
120 million girls (more than 1 in 10) have been forced to have sexual relations. (UNICEF, 2014)
In 30 countries, at least 200 million women have undergone genital mutilation. The majority of these girls were cut before age five. (UNICEF, 2016)
Conflict heightens the risk of violence against women: In Mali in 2015, 1,486 cases were recorded, including rape, physical assault and child marriage.
In Burundi, 59% of women out of 11,831 surveyed reported having been raped during a time of conflict (1993 - 2008). (COCAFEM/GL, 2011)
To shore up the efforts made by civil society to eliminate violence against women in countries where this problem is all too common, CECI has developed several projects in Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. Two projects are currently underway in Mali and in the African Great Lakes region.
The JUPREC project, “Justice, Prevention and Reconciliation for Women, Minors and Others Affected by the Crisis in Mali, has been jointly operated since 2014 by CECI, Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) and the Ecole nationale d’administration publique (ENAP). The project implements community-based strategies for gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, training for justice actors, legal assistance, strategic litigation, anti-corruption and integrity management, social dialogue for conflict prevention and resolution, and access to transitional justice for victims. GBV and gender inequality are cross-cutting issues addressed in these strategies.
In recognition of Quebec’s 12 Days of Action Campaign and the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, JUPREC’s partners in Mali will raise awareness among communities and religious and political leaders on the issues and consequences of GBV and the need for egalitarian relations, wherein women are considered people with inalienable rights. In six regions of Mali, partners will train 40 young people from civil society organizations and hold 36 educational talks, four public conferences, one cultural evening, three soccer tournaments, two public events, an interscholastic poetry competition, and community theatre performances. A collection of poems and key messages stemming from the activities will be widely disseminated in local languages throughout the year. The project expects results will show more reporting of GBV, less impunity for such violence, and increased promotion of better access to justice for victims.
CECI is also coming to the end of the Project to Combat Violence against Girls and Women (PLUVIF), which it started in 2010 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Implemented by COCAFEM/GL (Concertation des collectives des Associations féminines/Grands Lacs), the project mobilized communities, civil society and decision-makers against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Over seven years, PLUVIF provided victims of GBV with access to holistic services for physical and mental health, psychosocial support, legal and judicial support, and socio-economic reintegration. It trained men to play an active role in the fight against GBV, and advocated at country and regional levels for the fulfilment of the Kampala Declaration on GBV. Through these actions, CECI and COCAFEM/GL ensured that 10,200 women and young women had access to the services of their choosing. The partners supported socioeconomic reintegration for 436 SGBV survivors and taught 1,200 couples about gender equality as a foundation for ending violence.
Through initiatives such as JUPREC and PLUVIF and other development and humanitarian assistance projects that strengthen GBV prevention mechanisms and advance equality across the board, CECI not only defines "what we must denounce" but also offers solutions to address and end violence against women.
The JUPREC and PLUVIF projects receive funding from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada.