In Haiti, USAID's SSQH-Nord Project Addresses Gender-Based Violence

"Regardless of the form that gender-based violence takes, it is a human rights violation or abuse, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation. It is associated with many negative consequences, including adverse physical and mental health outcomes, limited access to education, increased costs relating to medical and legal services, lost household productivity, and reduced income. Gender-based violence undermines not only the safety, dignity, overall health status, and human rights of the millions of individuals who experience it, but also the public health, economic stability, and security of nations."

 United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally, August 2012

The USAID-funded Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haiti (SSQH) Nord project focuses on quality health service delivery in the departments of Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest and Artibonite. The goals of the project include the improvement of access to quality health services, the expansion and improvement of referral networks, the increased capacity of the facilities to manage healthcare outcomes and implement quality improvement methodologies and, finally, the increased capacity of the health departments to manage their staff and service delivery.

In Year 2, SSQH-Nord strategies will address gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection (CP). The project's partner, Save the Children, will support the URC project team in rolling out the GBV and CP component.

Assessing needs and services

The project will conduct focus group discussions in select communities among groups of women, men, and children from the 84 communities served by SSQH-Nord. The goal of the focus group discussions will be to learn about the chief GBV and CP issues affecting these communities from community members themselves, including their understanding of these issues and the services available for addressing their GBV and CP needs. In addition to the focus group discussions, the project will work with the communities to identify and reinvigorate community-level committees related to gender violence, women, children, and health. In keeping with the project's aim to develop locally-led solutions, interested community members and leaders will be invited to participate in the design and execution of a community services mapping activity, to better understand the available GBV and CP services. SSQH-Nord staff will also conduct meetings with representatives from the local health department to understand their needs and observations related to GBV and CP among patients seeking care. Local NGOs working on the topics of GBV, CP, and youth health will be involved in the development and implementation of needs-assessment activities.

SSQH-Nord will then map the services available among the 84 communities covered by the project to identify resources for children, youth, and victims of GBV.

Capacity Building and Training

The project will train the groups identified by the assessment on the identification of CP and GBV needs and risk factors, sensitize the community to the harms related to GBV and violations of children, and help the community develop monitoring and community-outreach schemes to prevent GBV, alleviate youth and child health concerns, and mitigate consequences.

Trainings will also be held for community health workers on youth-friendly services, CP, and GBV; protocols for dealing with cases that arrive at their clinics; and referring cases to specialists within the network.

The SSQH-Nord project's work in the coming year is committed to making a contribution to the international community's efforts to end gender-based violence and ensure that everyone has access to safe, quality care.

Date 
December 05, 2014
Authors 
Christina Zola, Communications Specialist and Christine Ortiz, Senior Advisor, HSS
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