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EU supports strengthening of gender-based violence prevention

By Mohamed Bangura (Intern)

The European Union has supported Rainbo Initiative and its partners; Handicap International and CARE International with a 600,000.00 EUR grant to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including those with disabilities.

The support by the EU is under a project titled; “Strengthening Gender Based Violence prevention and inclusive response services in Sierra Leone”, which started in September 2019. The project will support survivors of violence in five districts of Sierra Leone for a period of 30 months.

Deputy EU Ambassador, Jamila El Assaidi siad: “The EU relentlessly aims at a world where the rights of girls and women are claimed, acclaimed and respected. There is no excuse for disrespecting the dignity and integrity of women.”

She stated that the EU strongly recommends that the elimination, prevention and protection from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence be prioritized at national, district and village levels.

Ambassador El Assaidi was speaking during the official opening of the Bo Centre of Excellence, which provides free, quality, age appropriate and inclusive medical and psychosocial care to survivors of rape and sexual assault..

She noted that among others, the safety and needs of survivors of sexual and gender based violence must be at the heart of all protective measures adopted. Survivors should have access to specialist support services.

“The Bo Centre of Excellence we are inaugurating today is also one of the five Rainbo centres supported by the EU which provides free, quality, age appropriate and inclusive medical and psychosocial care to survivors of rape and sexual assault. The centre is equipped with appropriate disabled-friendly infrastructure, child friendly facilities including a play room and is providing spacious sitting accommodation. The medical and counselling rooms are conceived to ensure the comfort of both survivors and personnel,” she said.

The Bo centre was established with funding from the European Union, Irish Aid and OSIWA. Through the project, Rainbo Initiative contributes to support the national action plan and national advocacy campaigns to combat all forms of gender based violence.

“Change is possible but requires action, commitment, determination. The EU will work tirelessly with its partners to investigate and punish acts of violence, to ensure support for victims, and at the same time address root causes and reinforce the necessary legal frameworks,” Ambassador El Assaidi added

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