Monday, April 23, 2012

Maison Shalom, Burundi - Monitoring and Evaluation Report

Friends of Humanity Project partner Masion Shalom in Ruyigi, Burundi recently submitted a Monitoring and Evaluation Report. Friends of Humanity is working to remain transparent by monitoring our own impact, communicating with our project partners, and sharing this information with you. Our unique dedication to accountability and transparency sets us apart from other charity organizations.

The report consists of quantitative indicators (including the budget) and qualitative indicators of our impact.

Maison Shalom works to provide healthcare, education, and legal support to young girls who are victims of sexual abuse. Currently 76 children are being supported, ranging from infancy to 18+ years old. These children come from areas as close as 7km away in Kigamba, Burundi to 68km away in Nyabitshinda. Maison Shalom has four local staff members including two nurses, a social worker, and a psychologist, who work to provide culturally sensitive support to the young girls.

According to the report, 0% of the victims of sexual assault later become pregnant as a result of the incident. Because of the project, these young girls receive assistance in time to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Sadly, 4 of the girls helped through the program suffer from a serious, life threatening illness, such as HIV/AIDS.

Qualitative indicators of the report state that the project is in line with the project originally proposed. Young girls receive threefold support from Masion Shalom: urgent health care assistance to avoid unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS infection, psychological support and rehabilitation to cope with the incident, and legal support to peruse justice for their attacker if the victim chooses. The report goes on to indicate that girls who come to Maison Shalom come on their own accord. Some, who may not have the courage to ask for help, are encouraged by others to come to Maison Shalom because the project has ties to the community and the REMA Hospital, which is operated by the same organization.

Maison Shalom states that they have been able to meet all the needs of the girls who come to the organization.The girls they received were able to return to their communities without problems except for  three girls that have experienced a form of discrimination when returning home. Maison Shalom has worked to monitor and maintain communication with family members and neighbors to strength the acceptance and reintegration of these victims.

Maison Shalom has been working to prevent sexual assault by collaborating community health care institutions to exchange information to know exactly under what circumstances these abuses occurred. Maison Shalom  held awareness sessions on prevention strategies for women and girls who have been targeted on the hills in combination with other women's capacity building supporters in the community. Activities in care and prevention of sexual abuse are facilitated through collaboration with local community volunteers including leaders elected with the supervision of administrative officials.

The report indicates that difficulties persist:

  • Perpetrators of sexual abuse continue to have a high level of impunity in the local legal system
  • Parents are often ignorant and readily accept existence of criminals and blame abused girls for the incident
  • Sex remains a taboo subject in the local culture. This prevents victims from filing complaints because they fear the shame that might come with publicly acknowledging the attack
Overall the community has had a  "very positive" reaction to Maison Shalom's work  because it plays a very important role in the social reintegration of victims. Young girls who go to Maison Shalom have largely found confidence in knowing they can obtain future support from the project. For some, the acceptance by family and community comes gradually. However, through education conducted in the area of their families, girls are able to have  an effective reintegration into their families and community. In summary, some victims would like Shalom House continues to support them because they fear further abuse or rejection of their community. Others have faith in better future even without the intervention of Maison Shalom. This case-by-case system of support reflects Maison Shalom's culturally sensitive approach to assisting victims.

A quote from one beneficiary of Maison Shalom's work shows their work has helped one young girl reconnect with her family after the traumatic incident:

 « J’ai été très intéressée par le fait que la Maison Shalom a parlé à mes parents qui finalement ne m’ont pas fait du mal à cause de cet acte car j’en avais eu très peur » vraiment j’en suis très reconnaissante »

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