On March 24, 2021 the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG), in collaboration with the ABAAD Resource Center for Gender Equality in Lebanon, hosted its first Gender Knowledge Exchange to share the challenges, best practices, and lessons learned as a result of ABAAD’s experiences working to address gender-based violence (GBV) survivors’ health and well-being needs and to prevent future violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this event, participants learned how ABAAD has swiftly innovated and adapted its GBV prevention and response programming in the face of the pandemic. They adeptly moved their efforts to remote modalities as they provided GBV case management and psychosocial support (PSS) and met the family planning, reproductive health, and economic needs of their clients. IGWG members working in GBV programming eagerly asked ABAAD questions about their interventions and requested their resources to learn more about adopting their approaches.
- Jihane Isseid, technical coordinator, discussed remote GBV case management and child protection.
- Hassan Joumaa, masculinity technical focal point, discussed ABAAD’s efforts to adapt PSS interventions to remote modalities, particularly engaging couples in online parenting and anger and stress workshops, as well as e-awareness and e-PSS.
- Gary Zeitounalian, gender program technical support person, discussed community-based interventions, including ABAAD’s training programs for women’s community groups and outreach volunteers for peer-to-peer sessions.
During the discussion, ABAAD provided insights on:
- The alarming increase in GBV cases during the COVID-19 lockdowns, which pushed ABAAD to adapt and innovate to safely and effectively reach their clients, including those who lacked internet access or mobile phones, via remote/virtual platforms.
- What to consider for functionality, ethics, and safety before beginning to roll out remote case management services, including family planning services. This includes really listening to clients when they speak about their needs.
- Lessons learned from implementing remote case management and other crucial services while responding to the needs of women who experience violence or reproductive coercion.
- Lessons learned while exploring virtual platforms for engaging men, especially for violence prevention and mental health support.
- Recommendations for addressing pushback from individuals and communities.
- The importance of self-care for the individuals implementing these services.
- Tools and processes for documenting the challenges and lessons learned while adapting services during the pandemic.
- How ABAAD’s “learning organization” approach has been integral to its ability to consistently adapt its services to meet the changing needs of GBV survivors during the pandemic.
Recommended Resources from ABAAD:
- ABAAD’s Response to GBV During the Crises in Lebanon
- Best Practices Texting and Messaging With Survivors During COVID-19
- #SafetyForSafekeepers Campaign
- #LockdownNotLockup Campaign:
- Learn more about ABAAD’s campaigns here.
- Access more ABAAD resources here.
The IGWG also caught up with Gary Zeitounalian in December 2020 to discuss how ABAAD adapted their programming to address the violence prevention and response needs of women and girls while confronting the impacts of COVID-19. Read the interview here.
The IGWG’s Gender Knowledge Exchange events aim to provide members with an opportunity to consult with gender experts on a given topic or technical challenge in an informal and interactive small group setting and to leverage the wisdom of fellow gender champions who join these sessions as they exchange knowledge and experiences in a conversational setting.