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CANADEM's Humanitarian Response in Mozambique

~ Mobilizing Assistance ~

Ken Otieno in Mozambique with UNFPA
- GBV AoR Coordinator -
- GBV Case Management Spec. -
- GBV in Emergencies Spec. - 

Ken Otieno has been deployed to Pemba, Mozambique with UNFPA from March 2022 where he has so far served in three roles. He first deployed as GBV AoR coordinator, then as GBV case management specialist and now as GBV in emergencies specialist.

Ken was deployed to Northern Mozambique on surge to support humanitarian response due to the ongoing-armed conflict and climatic shocks that are characterized by cyclones. According to the 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview, an estimated two million people in northern Mozambique are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, including 945,000[1] people displaced by the conflict, individuals from surrounding host communities and those who have returned to their home districts in the course of the year.

GBV case management training in Pemba, Mozambique

The northern districts have also faced years of attacks by the None-state Armed Groups (NSAGs) and have only become recently accessible while others have remained partially accessible. The ongoing joint missions by the national and international military has led to liberation of several districts previously occupied by the NSAGs. Over the last five years, the counter attacks and threats by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) in Northern Mozambique has led to untold suffering, atrocities and gross violations of human rights, notably through, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced marriage and forced pregnancies, particularly in Cabo Delgado and, more recently, in Nampula and Niassa

Meeting with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Action in Pemba, Mozambique

Donor meeting in Maputo, Mozambique

In the last 9 months of his deployment, Ken has played a critical role in supporting UNFPA Mozambique in leading coordinating the GBV Area of Responsibility. Through his contribution, UNFPA has been able to promote accessible, safe and quality delivery of GBV services by the UN, INGOs and national NGOs, enhanced GBV risk mitigation efforts across different sectors such as WASH and Health and strongly advocated for funding opportunities for specialized GBV services across new accessible districts in Northern Mozambique.  In his role as GBV case management specialist, Ken has been able to lead the GBV case management capacity building initiative in Northern Mozambique, which led to the training and identification of a pool of trainers on GBV case management in the provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado. Ken has also led the initial phases of the roll of out of the Gender based Violence information management system which will greatly improve the collection, storage and sharing of GBV incident data among GBV service providers.

The impact of the ongoing kidnappings in Northern Mozambique coupled with dire economic conditions upon release cannot be overstated, with clear linkages to sexual exploitation and abuse. Most of the women and girls once released may not easily find job opportunities putting them at higher risk of transactional sex among other negative coping mechanisms as they may not have the required skill set and/or education as many, especially girls may have lost years of education while in captivity. In addition women and girls returning from captivity are often facing discrimination and stigma in their communities and thus many choose to go to the cities, especially those returning while pregnant or with children. With no source of income, they are forced to live in informal settlements where they share small, crowded spaces. Some girls may be forced to live on their own without parents and who may be missing or dead (as a result NSAGs attacks in their villages) putting them at very high risks of sexual exploitation and abuse.  In his current role as GBV in Emergencies specialist, Ken continues to support fundraising efforts to mobilize resources to meet the reintegration needs of women and girls released from captivity owing to the ongoing insurgency and counter insurgency in the Northern provinces.

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