Feature Story

DSW looks to UNFPA and IRC for psychosocial services in flood response

30 August 2015

Nay Pyi Taw - On 15 August, the Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) and UNFPA held a three-day workshop on gender-based violence case management in Nay Pyi Taw. Two trainers from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) facilitated the workshop. In total there were 27 caseworkers from the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and 2 from Marie Stopes International (MSI), with a further 9 observers from DSW. The workshop was to train caseworkers to provide quality psychosocial support and case management in order to provide both response services and to mitigate the risk of violence for women and girls in times of trauma.

 

The three-day workshop was to build participants’ capacity to provide case management support, including psychosocial first aid, establishing women and girls safe spaces and developing safe referral pathways to support the needs of women and girls who are particularly vulnerable in times of disaster. Often, with more obvious and immediate pressing needs such as food, water and shelter, the basic needs of women are overlooked, especially their need for hygiene products and physical security. Mi Mi Thin Aung, National Coordinator, GBV said: “During and immediately after a disaster, women and girls are more vulnerable to the risk of gender-based violence. They are often traumatised by the loss of life and their belongings. Currently, we have extreme flooding in 12 of Myanmar’s 14 States and Regions. In this emergency context, appropriate psychosocial interventions and case management services for women and girls are essential.” 

The three-day training helped to deepen understanding of the impact of natural disaster on women and girls, including increased vulnerability as a result of a loss of physical security and the depletion of community protection mechanisms. Through this, caseworkers agreed to adhere to accepted minimum standards of gender-based violence response and prevention activities. This included the development of referral pathways, case management, coordination, and reporting and psychosocial support. Ko San Lin Htike, a Counsellor for Marie Stopes International, said he had learnt a lot: “The workshop gave us new ideas and perspectives on counselling on gender-based violence. In communities, we should listen to what people have to say, and synchronise this with our planned activities. We also need to raise awareness among communities about GBV. The training also showed us how to link and coordinate our activities with DSW, the main government agency responsible for GBV.” 

The caseworkers will be deployed to areas hardest hit by flooding and landslides, which in many cases has led to displacement, for example Magway, Rakhine, Sagaing and Chin. A second training course will take place staff in September after which refresher courses will be conducted.