In the News

After the Floods: Preventing Gender-based Violence in Colombia

10 April 2012
Author: UNFPA
<p>An elderly woman makes her way through the flooded streets of Cordoba, Colombia.</p> <p>Credit: Julian Zosa for CERF/OCHA</p>

Some 180 women from communities affected by flooding and armed violence in Colombia’s Córdoba department have come together in the town of Santa Cruz de Lorica to build a women’s shelter. Although some men helped behind the scenes, the women themselves built the shelter and painted it, and are now maintaining it.

The shelter is just one part of a programme that includes workshops on justice, human rights and community organizing. The majority of the women attending the programme are heads of households; many have no high school education and some have experienced sexual and gender-based violence in the home and in the wider community.

Córdoba has been affected by both armed conflict and displacement, exacerbated by heavy flooding in 2010 and 2011 which affected more than two million people. The Colombian Government estimates that almost 70 per cent of those affected by floods have already suffered displacement due to armed conflict.

Many of the women say that building the shelter goes beyond the physical; the very act of uniting, making decisions, supporting their community and creating a space specifically for themselves and their families has transformed their lives.

Read the full story on the OCHA website.

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