Gender-based violence in Tajikistan in the context of COVID-19

International Alert, together with its partner organisations, has been working actively in Tajikistan in preventing various forms of gender-based violence against women and girls (VAWG), including against persons living with disabilities.

Our Zindagii Shoista (Living with Dignity) approach has successfully and effectively reduced VAWG by addressing gender norms, not as abstract concepts, but through their manifestations in everyday life. Simultaneously, the approach also seeks to improve family livelihoods by giving participants the necessary skills for income-generating activities, reducing some of the stress factors leading to VAWG, fostering more co-operation in the family and increased respect for the role and contributions of women.

Following on from a successful three-year project in four villages in Jomi and Penjikent districts, in which we were able to reduce VAWG sustainably by approximately 50% through the Zindagii Shoista approach; we are currently implementing a follow-up project in six villages in Jomi and Vakhsh districts in the south of the country.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the measures undertaken to control the outbreak have had multiple impacts on the lives of women and girls, not least the risk of exposure to increased levels of different forms of domestic and intimate partner violence. These risks are often greatest for those who are already in the most vulnerable situations, including people living in precarious economic conditions or persons living with disabilities.

While the findings of this policy paper focus on Tajikistan, many of these are applicable to other low- and middle-income countries.

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