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Holistic Safety - Creating a Safe World for Girls

Imagine a world where:

You don’t have to constantly look over your shoulder.

You don’t have to be overly cautious every time you’re around a man.

Your dreams and goals in life are not limited to your gender.

Your views and opinions carry weight and are not seen as emotional.

You’re viewed as a human being worthy of respect at all times and not as a snack.

In summary, a world that is not deemed a Man’s world.

Imagine that! Take a moment and just relish these thoughts, savor them like a sweet piece of chocolate on your tongue or a scoop of ice cream on a hot blazing day. Wouldn’t that be a great world?

Unfortunately, that is not in the least bit the world we live in. Instead, we grow up and live in a world that sets unrealistic standards on girls which in turn has long-term damaging effects.

A world that pays extra mind to girls, but yet not for her own well-being. Ironic, right?

And with the Covid-19 pandemic making its way onto the scene, the world girls live in has only taken a turn for the worst as witnessed by the high rise in cases of physical, sexual, and emotional/mental abuse, early marriages, teenage pregnancies to mention but a few, due to factors such as school closures, job losses, economic difficulties, etc. Now more than ever, we need to rise up stronger and firmer in the fight against gender Inequality.

We need to find solutions that are all-encompassing and fix the problem from the root upwards because a lack of safety leads to cycles of abuse that not only affects individuals but extends to families, the wider community and inadvertently, the state of the world.

As long as people continue to operate in brokenness (where they have been violated or harmed in some way), dysfunction will be the result. Blanket and/or band-aid solutions are insufficient at best and increase harm at worst.

Blanket and/or band-aid solutions are insufficient at best and increase harm at worst.

As SAFIGI, we believe that safety and well-being involve both Internal and external protection. Internal safety includes; wellness relating to mind, emotion, and culture while external safety involves protection of the body, society, and environment. We believe a safe world is one in which both internal and external safety is prioritized.

SAFIGI has developed a Holistic Safety Analysis and Intervention (HoSAI) program that uses a three-step (Analysis, Education, and Intervention) deductive method to find the root cause of an issue and not just the symptoms. Our aim is to ensure that specific interventions get applied to the unique circumstances of each girl.

Discrimination can blight women’s lives and hold them back from playing a full part in the workplace, society, and the economy.

As a part of the development process, we conducted focus group discussions with professionals and community members to learn their views on what they feel are the all-encompassing safety challenges faced by girls and young women today. The focus groups were also to get contributions on ways that can make the world safer for the girls and young women.

In discussion, some of the issues raised were as follows:

  • There is a lack of gender-sensitive personnel in authority who can respond adequately to gender-based violence is a factor; which implies that these institutions are not responsive to, or informed about, the needs of women.

  • Access to justice is often hampered by the poor quality of police investigation and over-burdened criminal justice systems.

  • Human and monetary resources are seldom available for victims, especially where psychosocial support and counseling are needed.

  • Abuse that takes place within the family is often covered up by family members thus shielding perpetrators and letting down the girl child.

  • Men fail to hold their fellow men accountable.

  • Cultural norms groom women as objects for men’s pleasure.

The focus group discussion findings have provided insight to be used for the Safety Education Courses and HoSAI pilot program, which launched in January 2022. This pilot program was funded by the generous contributions of the Atlantic Institute through the COVID-19 Response Fund.

As SAFIGI, we’re taking action to improve girls safety through the HoSAI program. To be a participant of the program, or refer someone you believe would benefit from the program, please sign up using the link here. Nominations are open until 28 January 2022.

Author Bio

Kabuku Chileshe Kabwela is an embodiment of multiple skills, talents, and interests that seamlessly merge to create her life, work, and career. She is a Zambian-based trained communication and PR specialist with an ability to string words together in the art of creative direction and storytelling.

Her hobbies include writing, traveling, thrilling adventure, crafting, and music.

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