Gender Based

Violence in

Sierra Leone

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Making history with the GBVIMS+: A first-ever launch in a non-humanitarian setting

Guest bloggers: Elfriede MF Kormawa, David Lamin, Stefano Schwarz and Lilit Umroyan

On Monday 29th May 2023, Sierra Leone made history by becoming the first- ever country in the world to deploy the Gender Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS+) for use by government. The launch, led by the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs is an important milestone in the country’s fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV), and contributes towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To date, GBVIMS+ has been rolled out exclusively with non-governmental actors in humanitarian settings. In response to the gap of a global inter-agency GBV data system tailored to the needs of state services that meets global standards for the safe and ethical management of highly sensitive service data, and mounting requests for support in deploying a system that facilitates the provision of quality, survivor-centered care and coordinated service provision; the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - as members of the GBVIMS Steering Committee - invested in the global project to make this possible: ‘Primero/GBVIMS+: Delivering Digital Information Management Systems to Governments’.

UNICEF/UNFPA Sierra Leone team and MoGCA leadership at the launch of GBVIMS+ in Freetown.

But beyond being a tool, the GBVIMS+ represents a collective vision for change, a beacon of hope for survivors, and a powerful instrument for prevention. This comprehensive system brings together key stakeholders, including government agencies, Non-Government Organizations, community-based organizations, and frontline service providers, enabling them to share critical information, harmonize interventions, and develop evidence-based strategies to address gender-based violence.

“We will pilot the GBVIMS+ in Kailahun, Bo and the Western Area and cascade it systematically to the other districts in the country,” said Ms Manty Tarawalli, Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs. This comes after longstanding engagement with the Global GBVIMS Steering Committee, led by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) through a project supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

In partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs led Technical Working Group, under the umbrella of this project UNICEF has successfully conducted an in-person scoping mission, rolled out the GBV Case Management Capacity Building Initiative to build country capacity in GBV case management, trained end users, documented system configuration requirements and also in parallel launched and trained users on the complementary tool, the e-referral pathway app (E-RPW)’ which enables remote updating of referral pathways and services in order to make information more widely accessible on available services. “We are grateful to all stakeholders who are working tirelessly under the Technical Working Group led by the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs said Ms Manty Tarawalli, Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs.

The UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone, Mr. Rudolf Schwenk with the country's Minister of Gender and Children's Affairs, Hon. Manty Tarawalli and UNFPA Sierra Leone Country Representative, Nadia Rashid.

The efforts to contribute to building the ministry’s capacity to address the problem of Gender Based Violence in Sierra Leone is being tacked through strong multi-partner initiatives and collaborations. At the country level, the launch of the GBVIMS+ in Sierra Leone was also supported through the Peace Building Fund programme that is being led by of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, coordinated by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and jointly implemented by UNDP and UNICEF together with the joint programme with UNICEF/UNFPA to End Child Marriage. This comprehensive partnership and investment in GBV response and prevention is a model for other governments in the region and the world.

However, we must acknowledge that launching GBVIMS+ is not an endpoint; it is the beginning of a transformative journey. Its success relies on our collective dedication, sustained commitment, and ongoing collaboration. It calls upon all actors to strengthen partnerships, and foster a culture of accountability, where every stakeholder plays a vital role in eradicating gender-based violence.