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The Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, today paid a visit to a center in Addis Ababa sheltering survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV). The visit was intended to provide a firsthand experience on one of UNFPA Ethiopia funded project on GBV.

At a meeting held with the staff of the organization running the shelter, the Executive Director noted "interventions like this which seek to rehabilitate and empower GBV survivors need to be commended and supported." The shelter is an intervention being undertaken by a local NGO called the Association for Women's Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD). The intervention is being supported by UNFPA since 2008 from the 3-year "Violence Against Women programme" funded programme by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia.


The safe house project seeks to rehabilitate and reintegrate women and their children who are survivors of GBV through the provision of integrated services including shelter, healthcare, food and clothing, counseling, self-defense as well as vocational skills training. "We started with 6 beds five years ago but thanks to support we secured from UNFPA and other partners we have now reached fifty beds," said the Executive Directress of the AWSAD while briefing the Executive Director. In the past year alone a total of 131 survivors of violence have received services of the safe house. The AWSAD is closely working with law enforcement bodies, Women's Affairs officials, health professionals, and community and religious leaders in the bid to support GBV survivors.

The Executive Director discussed with the survivors and reassured them that UNFPA will continue to support the center. He was accompanied during his visit by Athlete Messeret Defar, the National Honorary Goodwill Ambassador of UNFPA in Ethiopia, the Director of the Africa Region Office of UNFPA, and the Country Representative of UNFPA Ethiopia.