Ensemble, an initiative launched by EngenderHealth in May 2022, is focused on preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) in West and Central Africa—our program currently works with partners in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Mali. Ensemble means “together” in French, and we designed this program with the understanding that by working together, our impact will be greater than the sum of our individual efforts. To that end, we are collaborating with governments, civil society organizations, and other national and regional stakeholders in West and Central Africa to support local actions to prevent, respond to, and ultimately eliminate GBV. Critically, Ensemble places women in the lead and is co-designed with feminist- and youth-led organizations and those run by and representing GBV survivors.
The World Health Organization estimates that 36% of women in Africa have experienced gender-based violence (GBV) during their lifetime. UNFPA reports that women and girls with disabilities are estimated to be up to 10 times more likely to experience sexual violence. GBV is one of the most widespread human rights violations globally and a significant public health concern that presents a major obstacle to achieving gender equality, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and other human rights treaties and obligations.
EngenderHealth fosters regional partnerships and collaboration to promote cross-country interventions, approaches, data sharing, and lessons learned. Through these partnerships and shared learnings, we can increase access to comprehensive, confidential, non-discriminatory, respectful, and safe support for survivors and their families locally and nationally. By ensuring programs and activities are unequivocal in supporting survivor agency and inclusion, we will be better able to ensure survivor dignity and non-stigmatization and support survivor access to holistic, high-quality services. Further, we partner with youth- and women-led organizations and local leaders to deliver community and school interventions that challenge gender stereotypes and nurture gender-equitable attitudes because early intervention can prevent GBV.
Ensemble has already begun facilitating national consultations with critical stakeholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea. Further, we have identified at least ten local feminist organizations committed to supporting the initiative in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Mali. In 2022, we participated in a workshop on the Generation Equity Accountability Moment in September, a national workshop on teenage school pregnancy in Côte d’Ivoire in September, a regional dialogue on the right to safe abortion in Abidjan where Ensemble co-facilitated a panel in October, as well as various regional and national activities convened in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire as part of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign in November and December.
In 2023, Ensemble is prioritizing survivor-centered multi-stakeholder consultations with local organizations and groups representing GBV survivors to understand their perspectives on GBV prevention and response. Ensemble will build on what we learn from these consultations and then convene workshops with feminist organizations and groups representing survivors to co-create and co-design GBV prevention and response initiatives and codevelop a 10-year joint roadmap for GBV elimination with yearly milestones.
By working with partners and helping to mobilize local actors at the regional level, we can focus on practical and sustainable results that partners and governments can replicate on an even larger scale. Ensemble will simultaneously work to build and advance positive social norms and gender equality so everyone can live free from violence. Eliminating GBV requires long-term, strategic approaches, and we anticipate facilitating a long-standing initiative through this initial effort.
- Association d'appui et d'eveil Pugsada (ADEP)
- Initiative Pananetougri pour le bien être de la femme (IPBF)
- Organisation nouvelles initiatives de développement en santé (ONIDS)
- Mali DIVAROF (Développement, Intégration, Valorisation du Rôle de la Femme)
- YAGTU (Association pour la Promotion Féminine)
- AKWABA Mousso
- Stop au Chat Noir (SACNO)
- Organisation pour les Droits de lenfant et de la femme en Côte d’Ivoire (ODEFCI)
- Centre d'Aide et de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes (CALVIF)
- Famille Nutrition Et Developpement (FND)
- Coalition Nationale de Guinée pour les Droits et la Citoyenneté des Femmes (CONAG-DCF)
- Protection Fille Femme de Guinée (PFFG)
- The Estate of Atherlie Gidding