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03 Nov 2015

NRC - Upholding the Right of Women and Girls to Live with Dignity

Through a three day long Dignity Campaign, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Gender-Based Violence (GBV) team in Iraq aims to empower displaced Syrian and Iraqi women and girls.

ِBy Becky Bakr Abdulla (28.10.2015)

“These women are used to prioritising their children’s and family’s needs first and often forget their own personal needs. The Dignity Campaign is about shining the spotlight on the women and girls themselves”, says NRC’s GBV officer Shadan Namiq.

The campaign has reached out to women and girls in five camps, as well as in the urban areas of Erbil, from both Iraqi internally displaced and Syrian refugee communities. By asking women and girls about their personal needs, the GBV team identified female underwear and bras as the biggest need. The distribution of female underwear and bras was then included as the last step in the Dignity Campaign. After awareness raising sessions with discussions, presentation of protection principles and a final quiz about gender related issues, NRC ended the campaign by distributing female underwear and bras to over 10,000 women and girls.

GBV Officer Shadan Namiq inside NRC’s GBV office during an underwear distribution for Syrian women and girls in Kawergosk camp in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I). Photo: NRC/Becky Bakr Abdulla


“For the women and girls living in camps it is very important that we distribute underwear. Many households consist of several women and girls that have lived in displacement for years and don’t have money to buy in new clothes for themselves. The women and girls we have distributed underwear and bras to are very thankful, but the needs are still high”, GBV Women Leader Sharifa Jango tells us during a distribution in Kawergosk camp for Syrian refugees.

The distribution in Kawergosk camp provided in total 2766 Syrian refugee women and girls with underwear and bras.

“I want to thank NRC for their support. This is a very important help for women and girls. Now that our income has decreased we can no longer prioritise these items for ourselves”, one of the women (34) said.

NRC’s GBV programme in Iraq started its activities of prevention and response at the end of 2013. The programme established community centres in the camps to provide women, girls, men and boys with safe spaces where they can learn skills such as sewing, English language, and Information Technology. The programme focuses on providing psychosocial support to women, girls, men, and boys, who are survivors of GBV to aid them in the healing process. To raise awareness about gender related issues and GBV, the NRC leads campaigns, such as the Dignity Campaign, that reaches out to thousands of people. This is in addition to the three-day trainings of service providers and community members about GBV Basic Concepts that NRC offers on regular basis.

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