IsraAID Joins William Hague and Angelina Jolie at Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
Key experts participated in a featured IsraAID panel at last week's Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Co-hosted by William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, and Angelina Jolie, an American actress and special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the summit's objective was combatting rape as a weapon of war. It examined the tendency for combatants in war and civil conflicts to commit sexual atrocities.
“It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There’s nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power,” Jolie said in her opening remarks.
IsraAID's panel reviewed the activities that the organization has been implementing with its local partners in South Sudan to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence(GBV) since the independence of the country in 2011. The panel's participants were IsraAID's South Sudan Country Director Ophelie Namiech, post-trauma specialist in sexual violence Sheri Oz, former British Police Commissioner and former Advisor to the South Sudanese Police Services Bill Morrell and social worker and GBV Program Coordinator for the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Gender and Social Development Suzan Felix Wasuk.
The presenters examined best practices, lessons learned and the challenges of Gender-Based Violence programming in South Sudan. The panel focused on the sensitive but necessary partnership between police and social workers, and it analyzed the relationships between these service providers and communities.
"One of our biggest challenges is to destroy the barriers of mistrust that exist between the police force and social workers so that they can work together to provide better services for communities while also establishing trust between the police and those communities themselves," Namiech said.
The well-attended panel concluded by crafting practical recommendations to strengthen and improve the role of international agencies in GBV programming in fragile environments.
Since 2011 IsraAID has trained 216 social workers and other service providers, including church leaders, community activist, medical personnel and teachers.