The establishment of Women and Girls Safe Spaces has over the years proven to be a key approach for the protection and empowerment of Women and adolescent girls affected by the crisis.
Protection: Ensuring the rights and dignity of people affected by humanitarian crisis.
Empowerment: The transformation of structures of subordination, through a change in laws and the institutions which reinforce and perpetuate gender domination.
Throughout history, women and girls are known to be the most vulnerable in society and the presence of humanitarian crises exacerbates the vulnerabilities and dependency level of these women and adolescent girls.
Women and adolescent girls do not experience oppression and vulnerability risks in the same way. Diverse women and adolescent girls face compounded risks and experience violence based on intersecting systems of oppression and discrimination that cut across race, age, disability, ethnicity, and religion. To ensure safety in diversity, women and adolescent girls should have control over strategic life choices including key actions to ensure their safety and to pursue opportunities of their choices such as the establishment of Women and Girls Safe Spaces.
Women and Girls Safe Spaces are physical spaces where women and adolescent girls can be free from harm and harassment. And can gain knowledge and skills with access to services and fostering opportunities for mutual support and collective action in their communities and serve as an entry point to report protection concerns and voice their needs.
Major fundamental objectives every Safe Space should seek to achieve should include.
BOWDI, in its efforts to empower women and girls, maintains and manages Women and Girls Safe Spaces across its locations of implementation to contribute to the economic empowerment and self-reliance of women and adolescent girls by equipping them with skills to generate incomes which further reduces their vulnerability and risks of gender-based violence. Engaging in life skills acquisition in a group of peers has helped women and girls heal from traumas and build confidence and self-esteem.
Safe Space is not just the physical space or structure. Safe Space is also people. And BOWDI ensures that the space is not just safe but also that the people accessing the space feel safe through the friendly, empathetic staff who work in the safe space to aid the healing process of Women and Girls with the objective of empowering through the inclusion of all regardless of disability, religion, race or ethnicity to foster unity and harmony.
With the tremendous successes and positive impacts recorded by the establishment of Women and Girls Safe Spaces, especially in humanitarian situations, this calls for states to take concerted actions in ensuring that safe spaces are established or created in local governments, wards, and communities to help build resilience and aid healing processes for all vulnerable populations across the country.