Impact of the Tamar Communication Strategy on Sexual Gender-Based Violence in Eastern Africa

Lillian K. Kaviti

Abstract


Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is today recognized as a serious global health and human rights violation. Crisis situations such as conflict or war usually exacerbate the extent of the problem, particularly with regard to sexual violence against women and children.  Once communal protection and support systems crumble, the most vulnerable groups are exposed to sexual exploitation by virtue of their gender and socio-cultural status in society. These survivors inevitably experience social stigmatization from their families, who find it difficult to empathize and relate normally with them. In 2005, a Communication Strategy known as the “Tamar Campaign” was launched in Nairobi with the overall objective to address Gender-Based Violence (GBV) within a religious contextual approach. This Strategy was then rolled out to four different countries in Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes Region with the objective of providing a safe space to break the silence that often surrounds GBV. This paper examines the impact that this Communication Strategy has had in changing attitudes and deconstructing how certain African cultural practices encourage GBV. The thesis propounded in this paper is that to be effective, any strategy must engage women, men and the youth if it is to have a positive social change that is effective and sustainable. The compilation of success stories, challenges and lessons learnt also provides a learning resource to improve outreach efforts that lead to a better standard of living for vulnerable groups in Africa in conflict situations.


Keywords


Tamar Communication Strategy, Sexual Gender-Based Violence, Transformative Masculinity, Female Genital Cutting, Internally Displaced Persons.

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