Improvement on GBV response services during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is set to exacerbate pre-existing gender inequalities according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sudan. COVID-19’s adverse effect on women requires a specialized response that recognizes and addresses their rights, their medical and social needs and promotes their leadership in the response. In response the Government of Sudan, UNFPA, the protection sector and humanitarian partners are putting a number of services in place. In addition to strengthening gender-based violence (GBV) services at the locality level, partners are working to enhance the capacity of community members to play the role of first line responders. This includes provision of in kind support such as mobile phones. In light of containment measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, many partners have transitioned to providing remote services. The Government of Sudan’s Unit for Combating Violence against Women and Children (CVAW) launched a national GBV hotline service as well as state level hotlines in six states. The hotline provides psychosocial support to survivors: https://www.facebook.com/151426111616884/posts/3004426476316819/ Youth networks across the country were mobilized to raise awareness on the risk of GBV during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an estimated 38,000 women, girls, men and boys were reached with different messages. These activities complemented mass media campaigns on GBV and available services. Continuing challenges include reaching people in rural areas of Sudan with GBV protection services. In many states, GBV services are centralized in the capital and current restrictions on movement has created barriers to providing and accessing those services. In addition, access to personal hygiene supplies remains a major challenge for vulnerable women and girls under the economic crisis, prices inflation and restriction of movement. UNFPA and partners distributed over 30,000 dignity kits with additional items related to COVID-19 (soaps and sanitizer) as well as messages on GBV awareness and COVID-19 prevention.