The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world, has especially affected those most vulnerable categories of our society, among whom are the victims of gender-based and domestic violence.
The emergence of increased violence during the pandemic has not bypassed Bosnia and Herzegovina, and although civil society organizations, gender mechanisms and donors have recognized this problem and tried to act accordingly, the fact is that the above-mentioned organizations are expected to receive the most support.
Also, it was found that the financial status of safe houses, which are not adequately regulated even in normal circumstances, further deteriorated during the crisis. This was especially evident during the initial period of the pandemic when it was necessary to provide regular food, clothing, supplies of medicines, disinfection, protective clothing and to adjust the isolation or quarantine facilities.
UN Women recognized this issue by funding project activities for eight organizations that include a safe house. "Support to safe houses and victims of gender-based violence during COVID-19", whose main goal is to provide additional support to civil society organizations that run safe houses and support victims of gender-based and domestic violence during a pandemic.
This project involves direct support to safe houses in the form of grants through which each safe house planned funds for what they need most (replacement of carpentry, reconstruction of dilapidated bathrooms, purchase of furniture and appliances, organization of psychological workshops, renovation of the safe house to expand implementation space). occupational therapy, construction of an isolation ward, etc.).
In addition, the project conducted research related to institutional support for safe houses during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a two-day workshop with representatives of all eight safe houses in BiH in order to develop a set of recommendations for improving institutional and state response to support. victims of gender-based violence during a pandemic.
Jelena Mišić, director of the citizens' association "Budućnost", points out that the importance of such a project is immeasurable, especially if we take into account that gender-based violence and domestic violence have experienced a kind of expansion that required additional support for those who protect victims of violence.
"UN Women is an international organization with which we, as an association, but also the other seven partner organizations in the project, have been cooperating successfully for many years. Their selfless support for building a better society, a society in which there will be no violence and in which women will be respected, have equal rights and in which they will not be discriminated against on any grounds, especially gender, came once again when we all needed it the most. for which we are all very grateful. "Violence against women increased during the pandemic and the fact that it was recognized as an important problem by UN Women gives us the strength to continue working successfully," Misic said.
"This support was especially important in strengthening the material and technical capacities of the Safe House," said the director of "Medica" Zenica, Dr. sci. Sabiha Husić.
The project "Support to Safe Homes and Victims of Gender-Based Violence during COVID-19" is jointly implemented by the organizations "Budućnost" Modriča, "Foundation of Local Democracy" Sarajevo, "Lara" Bijeljina, "Medica" Zenica, "United Women" Banja Luka, "Vive žene Tuzla, "Women from Una" Bihać and "Women of BiH" Mostar.