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We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

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medica mondiale Media Centre

In November 2016 Sybille Fezer assumed the position of Executive Director for Programmes & Strategic Development at medica mondiale. For her, the aspects of her work which she particularly appreciates are the challenges of devising and developing new strategies for each new project country. Here there are always important focal questions: How can we reach out to women who have experienced sexualised violence? What specific access strategies do we need to develop? How do we want to shape the cooperation with our local project partners?

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Our Infoflyer informs you about our work, our aims and our projects. A life with dignity and free of violence is a fundamental right of every woman and girl.

However, the reality is that, much too often, this right is blatantly disregarded and brutally violated. We want to change this! Throughout the world, militias and armies use violence against women and girls during conflict in order to exercise power and subjugate opponents – and to humiliate and denigrate individual women.

Women and girls are targeted purely on the grounds of their gender. But the violence also continues after the war ends. Survivors often suffer psychological and physical injuries, leaving scars they feel for the rest of their lives. Our objective is to treat them as equals and with sensitivity while providing them with competent support. We have been doing this for more than 20 years. In this time, our stress- and trauma-sensitive approach has empowered tens of thousands of women and girls affected by violence, helping them to lead full lives again. Persistence and solidarity also characterise our political work, which seeks to achieve gender-equal structures in society.

Together, we can improve the lives of women and girls throughout the world.

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There has hardly been a year that has caused as much upheaval as 2015. It was a year in which violence was ubiquitous. We saw it in the media: terror attacks in Paris or war reports from Syria or the Ukraine.
We saw it outside the daily news coverage, for example in Afghanistan, where human rights violations and gender-based violence against women and girls keep increasing. And we see it in Europe, where the so-called community of values of the EU leaves thousands of refugees who are fleeing, at the external borders, or in overcrowded reception camps, to a fate of despair, exploitation, or death.
Policy-makers and society bear a responsibility towards those who come to us seeking shelter: to protect them and to give them a perspective. That includes providing security, work, language lessons and, particularly, stress- and trauma-sensitive counselling and support.
In order to assume its share of this responsibility, medica mondiale made Germany one of its project countries in 2015, and is going to train full-time staff and volunteers, who work with refugees, in a stress- and trauma-sensitive approach.
At the same time, we have been involved, since March 2015, in northern Iraq where thousands of refugees are now living. There, we support local authorities and women’s rights initiatives working on behalf of women and girls.
Many people in Germany want to do what we do – to help women and girls seeking refuge in Germany or elsewhere in the world. Therefore, 2015 has also been a year of solidarity – and that is encouraging. You, our supporters, have also taken action and supported us and our project colleagues with donations, messages of solidarity, creativity, and a lot of commitment.
Thank you very much.

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With its Grant Program, medica mondiale makes available financial assistance of between 5,000 and 30,000 euros annually to selected partners, with accompanying expert support. In this way, local infrastructure and networks can be established, helping to ensure the availability of healthcare, counselling and direct assistance for women and girls. Here medica mondiale concentrates on cooperation with women's organisations in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

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medica mondiale has been working in the structurally weak south-eastern part of Liberia since 2006 - in a joint project with Welthungerhilfe (German World Hunger Relief) to provide medical and psychosocial care and support for Liberian women. The aim is to improve their life situation and implement pre-emptive measures to prevent violence against women. These include training volunteer community counsellors and establishing local solidarity groups. 

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Bosnia-Herzegovina: In April 1993, together with Bosnian female psychologists and doctors, Monika Hauser opened the women's therapy centre Medica Zenica - the first centre of its kind. The centre provided targeted support to women and girls who had been systematically raped, tortured and imprisoned during the Yugoslavian wars. The staff in Bosnia-Herzegovina have been carrying out this work as an independent organisation since 2003. / Kosovo: Shortly after the end of the war, in 1999 medica mondiale opened an interdisciplinary women's centre in rural Gjakova. Today, the centre continues to provide comprehensive support for women raped during the war, with advice and programmes to help them secure their livelihood in agricultural self-help groups. Medica Kosova became an independent women's rights organisation in 2003.

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