We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

MediathekMedia Centre

Media Centre

medica mondiale Media Centre

The COVID 19 pandemic has made systemic gender inequalities visible worldwide. The unjust distribution of often unpaid care work and the resulting additional burden as well as financial disadvantage for women is just one example. The enormous increase in sexualised and gender-specific violence during the pandemic is also an expression of already existing discriminatory gender relations in patriarchal societies.

At the same time, it is women in particular who are working to contain COVID-19 and support survivors of violence. Through their work in civil society organisations, but also their activities in life-sustaining professions and vital roles for their families, they make an existential contribution to meeting the challenges of the pandemic.

The upcoming German government is faced with the task of working with international partners to develop viable solutions for gender-responsive management of the pandemic and to find feminist responses to the escalating  sexualised violence  that are effective in the short and long term. So far, politics has hardly taken gender-specific effects of the crisis into account.


News about the evaluation report: Improvements in opportunities empower women in Kosovo
Improved livelihood opportunities for female and adolescent returnees and host community in Kosovo’s Dukagjini region

The project aimed at women and adolescent girls in Kosovo’s Dukagjini region, including returnees from Europe or other Kosovar regions, with the overall goal to improve their livelihood opportunities and thus contribute to the prevention of further migration. Findings of the final evaluation reflect that the involved women are empowered both economically and psychologically.


Sabiha Husic, director of Medica Zenica, draws upon the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina 25 years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, that stopped the war, the killing and the  wartime rape of women and girls, but did not achieve reconciliation for the people in her country. Medica Zenica sees the need for dealing with the past in order to reconciliate. In her speech, Sabiha underlines why the inclusion and visibility of women is vital for the process.  


Analysis of the quality of health care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

As part of medica mondiale’s Transnational Health Training Programme (THTP), a comparative study of the current situation of the quality of health care for survivors of sexualized and gender-based violence (SGBV) was conducted in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq (KRI).

The purpose of the study was to analyse and to compare the structural obstacles and barriers that survivors of sexualized and gender-based violence face when they try to access health care services. The focus was the degree to which heath care services are offered to SGBV survivors in a stress- and trauma-sensitive way. This was done by comparing country studies conducted in each of the four countries.

Based on this analysis, recommendations were made to promote the institutionalization of stress and trauma sensitivity in the health care services at country and at international level.


1 October 2020: Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the United Nations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 (2000)

Co-signed by medica mondiale and other members of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

"(...) Twenty years ago, the architects of Resolution 1325 created history, not only by recognizing the brutal and disproportionate reality of conflict for women and girls around the world, but also by recognizing the importance of their equal participation in all aspects of peace and security. Yet reflecting on these founding principles of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, it is clear that while there has been some progress, these words have remained rhetoric rather than lived reality for the 264 million women and girls living in conflict across the globe. (...)
Participation without the ability to influence the outcome is not participation, it is observation. (...)
On the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, we join our voices with those of women leaders and activists around the globe to reiterate the principle at the foundation of the WPS agenda – nothing less than the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security. (...)"


Rapport annuel 2019

Chères lectrices, chers lecteurs,

Que faire, lorsque tout change d’un coup ? L’éclatement mondial de la pandémie de corona nous a montré à quelle vitesse la réalité peut changer. Les écoles, les hôpitaux et des états entiers doivent adapter leurs structures et plans - avec de lourdes conséquences pour chacun et chacune d’entre nous.

Les problèmes sociaux sont encore plus manifestes pendant les périodes de crise, apparents comme sous une loupe. Les groupes marginalisés sont plus affectés et sont moins pris en compte dans les solutions. Toutes les crises nous montrent que les structures patriarcales se renforcent - avec des conséquences fatales pour les femmes et le tissu social. Les femmes défavorisées sont particulièrement concernées.

Malheureusement, l’année 2019 n’a pas été une exception à cet égard. La situation des femmes yézidies m’a particulièrement bouleversée. Le génocide perpétré contre la minorité yézidie par ce qu’on appelle « État islamique » comprenait aussi l’enlèvement, le mariage forcé et le viol des milliers de femmes yézidies. Selon le droit irakien, les enfants que ces femmes avaient mis au monde dans la captivité, presque toujours à la suite de viols, ne sont pas considérés comme yézidis, mais comme musulmans en raison de leurs pères. Les autorités yézidies n’ont rien fait eux non plus pour accepter les enfants comme partie de la communauté yézidie. Par conséquent, les mères ont été contraintes soit d’abandonner leurs enfants, soit de renier leur communauté.

Pour pouvoir défendre les droits des femmes pendant les périodes de crise également, nous devons agir ensemble, et ce, avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. Actuellement, nos partenaires démontrent l’importance du développement de réseaux forts d’organisations pour les droits des femmes qui restent opérationnelles sous pression également. À cet égard, il y a eu des évolutions impressionnantes l’année dernière. Ainsi, dans la région des Grands Lacs d’Afrique, trois de nos organisations partenaires ont commencé de collaborer de façon transnationale. De même, en Afghanistan et en Irak ainsi qu’en Europe du Sud-Est, nous avons soutenu le lancement des échanges réguliers sur des sujets spécialisés et des stratégies politiques.

C’est précisément ces réseaux de militantes pour les droits des femmes qui me donnent du courage et de l’espoir. Ces alliances doivent être soutenues et encouragées afin que nous puissions affronter les crises de manière déterminée et vigoureuse.

Dr. Monika Hauser


Dear Reader,

What should we do when everything is suddenly different? The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly realities can change. Schools, hospitals and whole countries have to adapt their structures and plans – with drastic consequences for each and every one of us.

Crises can magnify society’s problems as marginalised groups are affected more but considered less when devising solutions. In all crises we see that patriarchal structures strengthen – with fatal consequences for women and social cohesion. And the women who particularly suffer are those who need particular protection.

In this respect, the year 2019 was unfortunately no exception. I was shaken, among others, by the situation of the Yazidi women. The genocide committed against the Yazidi minority by the so-called Islamic State also involved the kidnapping, forced marriage and rape of thousands of Yazidi women. According to Iraqi law, the children who these women gave birth to while in captivity – who were almost always born of rape – do not count as Yazidi but assume the Muslim identity of their biological fathers. The Yazidi authorities were also unable to persuade themselves to accept the children as part of the Yazidi community. This forced the mothers to either say goodbye to their community or give up their children.

In order to continue defending women’s rights during times of crisis we have to take action together before it is too late. Our partners are currently demonstrating how important it is to establish strong networks of women’s rights organisations which can still function under pressure. During the past year there were impressive developments in this regard. In the region of the Great Lakes in Africa, three of our partner organisations began to work together across borders. In Afghanistan and Iraq, and in south-eastern Europe too, our support helped our partners to initiate regular networking meetings on specialist topics and political strategies.

It is these networks of women’s rights activists who give me courage and hope. We need to support and fund these alliances so that in the face of crises, we are powerful and determined.

Dr Monika Hauser