On 19 August 2021, Geneva, Switzerland (Virtual) – UNITAR’s Division for Peace is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)  with  the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region - Regional Training Facility (ICGLR-RTF) with the goal of contributing to international, regional, and local efforts aimed at preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region. UNITAR and the ICGLR-RTF have a strong working relationship, and the signing of this MoU represents the formalisation of the partnership and a recommitment towards comprehensive joint programming.  

Since its inception in 2014, the ICGLR-RTF has trained over 1500 professionals that manage cases of SGBV in the Great Lakes Region including, among others, police, military, and medical personnel. The ICGLR-RTF is mandated to train and equip stakeholders with skills to effectively prevent and promote response to SGBV and to generate knowledge about the challenges of SGBV in the region. ICGLR-RTF’s mission is to sensitize stakeholders to change stereotypes and attitudes, to promote the empowerment of women, girls, men and boys to live in dignity at all times and in all situations. 

The facility has been a positive driver for change in the region, convening high profile regional and national training workshops for police, judiciary, prosecutors, social workers, medical officers, psychosocial officers, media and civil society professionals. The trainings are based on tailor-made curricula developed by professionals in key sectors such as: 

  • With the support of The Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education (NICHE) a training of trainers manual was developed to support ICGLR-RTF master trainers to train national trainers in the twelve member states of ICGLR.  
  • The second curriculum was developed with the support of NICHE under the project “End Impunity of Sexual Violence, (EIS), this was to equip police officers and judiciaries with techniques of effective investigations, prosecution & adjudication to end Impunity of sexual and 0gender-based violence in Uganda.  
  • The integrated model on combating SGBV in the Great Lakes Region (2020) was developed with support from European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through GIZ. The integrated model combing the socio-ecological and the holistic approach of the Panzi Foundation and Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation.

UNITAR’s in-depth understanding of the ICGLR-RTF’s mandate combined with its innovative learning approaches, methods and tools enable UNITAR to be an effective partner in building the capacity of the ICGLR-RTF to address and prevent SGBV and improve overall human security in the region. 

Currently, UNITAR’s Youth and Women Empowerment and Learning Solutions for Peace teams are supporting on several projects to enhance the institutional capacity of the ICGLR-RTF to provide training and sensitisation activities to its specific target audience and adapt to the new challenges that have emerged in light of COVID-19.  Building on each other’s strengths, the ICGLR-RTF and UNITAR will work in unison to increase the ICGLR-RTF’s reach to its core target audience - professionals working in different sectors who effectively manage cases of SGBV - and improve support and collaboration between ICGLR Member States.  

Further leveraging this partnership, UNITAR and the ICGLR-RTF are collaborating on the development of training courses, workshops, and other events, including Trainings of Trainers courses in the areas of preventing and responding to SGBV. Through the exchanging and sharing of learning resources, such as reports, manuals and training materials this partnership will result in the design and development of new curriculum and the creation and implementation of face-to-face and e-learning courses offered by the ICGLR-RTF. The addition of this new curriculum and courses will increase the impact of the work of the ICGLR-RTF and in turn the resilience of survivors of SGBV. Additionally, UNITAR and the ICGLR-RTF are exploring establishing a model One Stop Centre (OSC) for prevention and response to SGBV in Kampala, Uganda in order to provide support to the survivors of SGBV in a timely manner.  

UNITAR is optimistic that this newly formalized partnership with the ICGLR-RTF will allow for a multitude of innovative and effective projects that result in better response and support to survivors of SGBV across the Great Lakes Region and looks forward to a long lasting and strategic relationship. 

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