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Donna Torsu, UN Online Volunteer

Creating training material to address gender-based violence in emergency settings

Online volunteering is beneficial to women all around the world who wish to contribute their knowledge and experience as well as enhance their capacity.”

A group of twenty UN Online Volunteers helped the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) create training materials for an initiative that aims to build the capacity of programme managers who design and manage gender-based violence (GBV) programmes in humanitarian emergency settings.

Following the release of an e-learning course entitled "Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Emergencies" last April, UNFPA, in partnership with International Medical Corps, began developing the curriculum for the initiative's second component: a face-to-face training workshop for field practitioners.

The volunteers, through weeks of extensive research and writing, helped create a series of fact sheets on specific subtopics within GBV in emergencies, such as "GBV and the Security Sector" and "Working with Child Survivors of GBV", which is one of the central features of the training's curriculum.

Beth Garcia (U.S.A.), who holds a Master’s degree in History with a special focus on women and gender studies, developed a factsheet on "Addressing GBV in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community". She has recently made the decision to forge a career path in the field of international development.

“Through this online volunteering experience and analysis of UNFPA-provided research materials, I gained an understanding of the unique challenges that emerge during emergency situations.”
-- Beth Garcia, UN Online Volunteer

“The aim of the face-to-face training is to deliver hands-on, practical tools that field practitioners can use to design and manage their programmes, with the ultimate aim of expanding and strengthening the pool of skilled professionals working in the field of GBV. The first pilot training took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 14-22 February 2012, and the online volunteers contributed to its success”, says Erin Kenny, Gender-based Violence Specialist at the UNFPA Humanitarian Response Branch.

Donna Torsu (Ghana), who holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs, created the factsheet “Engaging Men and Boys to Prevent Gender-based Violence”.

“[Online volunteering is] beneficial to women all around the world who wish to contribute their knowledge and experience as well as enhance their capacity.”
-- Donna Torsu, UN Online Volunteer

The young Ghanaian, who works as a Programme Assistant at the UNESCO Office in Accra, has learnt “a whole lot more on gender-based violence” through this task, and says that it was among other things due to this experience that shortly afterwards she was selected by the NGO Femmes Africa Solidarité to participate in a course on gender and conflict that will bring together experts, university professors and researchers from 30 countries.