Women and girls are often disproportionally affected during crisis. In Northern Mozambique, women and children make up 79 per cent of the population displaced due to the ongoing conflict in Cabo Delgado. Being on the move, strained facilities and limited shelter can leave women exposed to unique threats. The risk for gender based violence (GBV) in these situations increases and it is crucial therefore to ensure continuous access to the most basic protection services.
In Northern Mozambique, IOM deploys mobile teams comprised of Protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support experts to areas like Ibo district, where a high number of displaced people reside. IOM Psychologist Shanice spoke to a young girl who received support in Ibo district and or privacy reasons remains anonymous. The girl narrates that due to the conflict in Cabo Delgado, she had to flee her home and arrived to Ibo district, where she suffered from physical and psychological abuse that affected her not only physically but also mentally: “I felt lonely, sad, unwilling and unable to deal with the people around me.”
With IOM’s intervention through its Protection, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Programme, she received individual and family psychological assistance. She states: “After receiving psychological support I felt safe, I realised that I am not alone.” Thereafter, she was referred to a health unit, where she received first basic health care.
Youth Discussion Groups
In the discussion groups, together with mental health professionals, youth discusses issues related to the risks faced by adolescents and engage in group recreational activities such as dancing, singing or carrying out motivational debates.
“Since I joined the youth discussion group I am more aware of the different types of GBV. We cannot remain silent when it happens and we have to eradicate all forms of GBV.”
Under the project ‘Humanitarian response to conflict affected populations and COVID-19 preparedness in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’, IOM implements activities to support people affected by the conflict to gain access to essential health, protection and psychosocial services, and empowering individuals and communities in Northern Mozambique to engage in self-care and adopt positive coping mechanisms.