Gender-based violence in Tajikistan in the context of COVID-19
International Alert and its partner organisations have been working in Tajikistan to prevent gender-based violence against women and girls (VAWG), including those living with disabilities.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the measures undertaken to control the outbreak have affected the lives of women and girls in many ways, not least the risk of exposure to increased levels of domestic and intimate partner violence. These risks are often greatest for those who are already in the most vulnerable situations, including those in precarious economic conditions or 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. At the same time, the approach also seeks to improve family livelihoods by giving participants the necessary skills for income-generating activities. This reduces some of the stress factors leading to VAWG, fostering more cooperation in the family and increased respect for the role and contributions of women.
In a successful three-year project in four villages in Jomi and Penjikent districts, we were able to reduce VAWG sustainably by approximately 50% through the Zindagii Shoista approach. We are now implementing a follow-up project in six villages in Jomi and Vakhsh districts in the south of the country.
While the findings of this policy paper focus on Tajikistan, many are also applicable to other low- and middle-income countries.