A safe space for women and girls affected by conflict

Women's friendly space, supported by CERF in Oromia. UNFPA/Paula Seijo

Ethiopia | 2023 | CERF

Ethiopia, Oromia. “I used to be a wealthy woman. I had farmland, horses, cows, and even a shopping center. The conflict has ravaged my life. Now, I am destitute”, recounts Ugosa Hassan, who is living in a  makeshift site in the outskirts of Chinaksen.

Ugosa is one of the thousands of people displaced by conflict in the border areas between Ethiopia’s Somali and Oromia regions. Conflict continues over water and grazing land. Unprecedented drought has only deepened the tension. As of October 2022, more than 4.7 million people across the country are estimated to be internally displaced people (IDPs), mostly due to conflict and drought.

Every day, Ugosa visits the Women and Girls’ Safe Space daily,  run by the International Medical Corps with the support of  UNFPA, and funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). It is a meeting place for women, a place to access social services or to discuss the current challenges.

“In Chinaksen, women do not have any other space to gather together, socialize, discuss issues relevant to them or even forget about their distress in life. Here, displaced and host community women can support and learn from each other,” says Maryam Mukhatar, a volunteer supporting the integration of displaced women in the community.

“Every time I come to the Safe Space and see my basket there, hanging on the wall, I feel proud of myself. It brings some comfort to my life”, says Ugosa Hassan.

“Life is not easy,” says Ugosa “, but with the support of the social workers and other women I met here, I  have found some solace.”

Original story (UNFPA).

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