WOMEN & GIRLS IN CONFLICT

Introduction

Women and girls suffer disproportionately during and after conflict due to displacement and the breakdown of essential support networks. Girls are more likely to be kept out of school due to grave concerns regarding their safety in times of war and conflict. Further, women and girls face an increased risk of varied repercussions including gender-based violence, forced marriage, unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality as well as lack of access to essential healthcare and educational facilities.

 

At M.A.P, more than 80% of the clientele comprises women and children, many of whom are survivors or at risk of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Their vulnerability is compounded by decades of war, moral policing by religious groups, cultural suppression, language barriers, a lack of awareness about their rights and uncertainty about their legal status in India. In order to combat these challenges, M.A.P. has specific programmes in place to provide exclusive and enhanced assistance to this group. Further, since 2014, M.A.P has been a member of UNHCR’s SGBV Working Group, which brings together refugee aid organisations in India to devise strategies to counter SGBV within the refugee community. 

Programmes

 Legal Awareness on SGBV

Despite there being several instances of refugee women being sexually exploited, a majority of these remain unreported due to fear of stigma and inability to access the available State mechanisms for redress. This project promotes legal literacy and awareness to combat gender-based vulnerabilities faced by refugee women and girls in India through legal information pamphlets in refugee languages, individual and group counselling and training of focal points. Further, the project also builds capacities of service providers so as to strengthen their response systems. 

 Atiqa

Afghan embroidery is a world renowned art form often passed down from generation to generation. This initiative provides a transformative space for Afghan refugee women to use their skills in traditional embroidery, not only to secure a sustainable livelihood but also to have a therapeutic outlet for their common experience of being uprooted from their homeland. The project also allows them to preserve their cultural identity and use art as an effective medium to forge a bond with the host population. 

16 days of Activism

Every year UN Women observes the #16daysofactivism against Gender-Based Violence campaign from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. To mark this event in 2017, M.A.P. celebrated the incredible work of several unsung heroes who are helping refugee women and girls rebuild their lives in India and fight against gender-based violence. We featured women, both from within the refugee community and civil society organisations, who are working to improve the lives of the women around them. To view, please visit our 16 Days of Activism Facebook Album on: https://www.facebook.com/170047013162006/photos/?tab=album&album_id=931924370307596.

Other Activities

  • In 2015, M.A.P participated in an inter-disciplinary workshop on Gender and Forced Migration held by Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) in Bangkok, which saw the participation of nearly 40 representatives from refugee aid organisations from across the region.
  • On February 11, 2016, M.A.P, with support from the Embassy of Switzerland, organised a panel discussion titled “Conflicts are not Gender Neutral: How to Protect and Empower Women and Girls.This conference kick-started M.A.P.’s focused efforts towards working with women and girls affected by conflict.
  • In May 2017, M.A.P participated in a three-day workshop on “Gender-Based Violence in Urban Settings” organised by the Women’s Refugee Commission in New Delhi.