Family Care International (FCI) strives to eliminate gender-based violence by raising awareness among policy makers, health officials and civil society partners, of the severity of the problem, laws and conventions criminalizing gender-based violence, and strategies aimed at preventing gender-based violence.
The physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse of women stems from cultural norms and beliefs that view women as inferior. Physical and sexual violence entails added risk, such as unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissible infections, complications during pregnancy, and chronic reproductive health problems. Violence devastates the lives of women, their children, and their communities.
Strengthening political commitment
In Bolivia and Ecuador, FCI works with local partners to raise awareness about and develop strategies to address violence against women in indigenous communities.
In Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, FCI addresses gender-based violence among youth through our comprehensive sexuality education materials for adolescents.
Improving quality of care for victims
In collaboration with the Mexico Safe Motherhood Committee, FCI developed resource guides and trains health care providers and social workers to deliver comprehensive, high quality care, counseling and referrals to women who are victims of interpersonal and/or sexual violence.
In Ecuador, FCI has worked with the Latin American and Caribbean Emergency Contraception Consortium to implement the national guidelines on gender-based violence that mandate victims of sexual violence be entitled to counseling and the provision of emergency contraception.
Prevention and management of violence against women in Amazon
Indigenous communities in remote Amazonian villages in Ecuador and Bolivia struggle with high rates of poverty and scarce social services for health and education. There is limited access to information on national laws and specifically those related to protection from violence. This makes it difficult to implement established mechanisms to combat violence against women afflicting these communities.
In January 2007, UNIFEM selected an FCI project to receive funding from the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The project began working with these indigenous populations to address the gender-based violence that exists in their communities and to develop culturally sensitive measures to overcome it. Over a period of 18 months FCI worked in cooperation with the Federación de Organizaciones de la Nacionalidad Kichwa de Sucumbíos (FONAKISE) and the Indígena de Pueblos Originarios de la Amazonía de Pando (CIPOAP) to address gender-based violence in 30 communities in the Ecuadorian province of Sucumbíos (inhabited by Kichwa peoples) and 30 communities in the Pando province of Bolivia (inhabited by the Cavinena, Tacana, Esse Ejja, Yamihuana, and Machineri peoples).
This two-country project engaged these indigenous groups to:
- Work with men, women, young people, community leaders, and health workers to raise awareness and transform perceptions of gender-based violence, promoting a rights-based perspective;
- create inter-sectoral mechanisms at the provincial level to enable existing laws to be properly applied at the local level; and
- advocate with regional and national indigenous organizations for greater attention to violence against women in their political agendas.