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A safe house with a capacity of accommodating more than 80 women who survived gender based violence and are in need of protection was launched today in the Gilgel Beles town in the Mandura woreda in the Benishangul Gumuz Region. The safe house supported by UNFPA with funds secured from the Government of Japan is operated by the Mujejeguwa-Loka Women Development Association (MLWDA).  There is a plan to set up a school at the safe house for the children of the survivors and also a farm for income generation.

“We have seen all the good works done by Mujejeguwa-Loka in challenging harmful traditional practices for more than two decades with incredible results,” said Gamada Dugants, Head of the Water, Mine and Energy Resources Development Department, speaking at the event on behalf of the Head of the Metekel Zone. He added “our support will continue in making these good deeds sustainable and expand the services in the different districts of the region.” 

“The regional government has understood the need and is highly collaborating with us providing vehicle and promising to allocate a farmland to ensure sustainability of our services,” remarked Tirhas Mezgebe, Founder and Executive Director of MLWDA, at the event.

UNFPA has partnered with MLWDA – through the Prevention and Management of Gender-based Violence in Ethiopia Programme funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands Embassy – in the fight against gender based violence and harmful traditional practices violating the rights of women and jeopardizing their health in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region. The partnership has been instrumental in promoting safe motherhood and reducing maternal death. Working closely with Health Extension Workers, MLWDA has undertaken community mobilization and advocacy intensively and has been providing basic social services protection and rehabilitation to survivors of violence.

The center which was upgraded and launched today used to be operated from a rented house for a decade and only had a capacity of accommodating 35 survivors.