An improved Standard Operating Procedure (SPO), strong and robust referral pathway and an enlarged network of members in the Community of Practice (CoP) are some of the key achievements of joint efforts in the management of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases.
Members of the CoP in the Northwest region highlighted their milestones on February 21, 2020 during the Close Out phase of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) project dubbed, “Providing Quality Compassionate Care and Case Management of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Humanitarian Context”.
Nsono Josephine, Project Communication Officer says the project’s overall goal was to provide holistic care to GBV survivors within the humanitarian crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Region of Cameroon. “The 5-month long project was in response to documented cases of trauma and various forms of violence people were exposed to as a result of the crisis, recorded by the Community Counseling Clinic (CCC) of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services,” she underscored.
One of the novelties the CBC Health Services used in implementing the CFLI Project was the assembly of service providers within the referral pathway in GBV case management to form a Community of Practice, to offer frontline or lifesaving services to GBV survivors. “Within the CoP, members were bent on providing comprehensive, compassionate and quality care to survivors,” Ms Nsono noted.
It is worth noting that thanks to the CFLI Project, over 300 GBV survivors have received lifesaving and economic empowerment services that have restored their once lost human dignity.
Mr. Warri Denis, Chief of Administration and Finance (CAF) at the CBC Health Services in an opening address, saluted members and partner organizations in the Community of Practice for their work in translating the mission of addressing gender-based violence to practical interventions at the community level.
“Gender-based violence in recent past seemingly was a foreign concept to us. We used to read about it in books and journals. However, it was not that it didn’t exist in our communities. We lacked just the necessary tools and resources to identify it. Today, thanks to our holistic approach in providing care to all, we have reached milestones in identifying and managing GBV. Hence, I urge you in the Community of Practice to mainstream inventions that will create a society free of GBV at large,” the CAF admonished.
“Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security, and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains masked in a culture of silence. Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death,” says United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mrs. Ndagha Cordelia, Divisional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for Mezam, during the meeting, appreciated the CBC Health Services for championing new strategies like the CoP and inclusion in the fight against gender-based violence in the region. She equally used the forum to salute the members of CoP for staying true to the call of fighting GBV in their respective communities. “This network of CoP is indeed the right step in the right direction towards having communities void of GBV. I call on us to remain committed to improving the lives of all in our communities,” she said.
The Mezam Community of Practice is made up of social workers, legal minds, mental health staff, clergy, economic and livelihood actors and faith-based organizations.