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In 2019, UNFPA carried out a rapid assessment across Somaliland, focusing on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The assessment revealed an increase in the use of GBV hotlines by women and girls seeking services and assistance. The results indicated that the overall absence of standard GBV hotlines in Somalia had severely impacted the immediate support required to GBV survivors. 

In early 2021, the Ministry of Employment Social Affairs and Family (MESAF) and UNFPA jointly established a hotline call center with operations running around-the-clock. As part of the establishment, UNFPA trained operators in how to respond properly to the needs of GBV survivors. The hotline call center is based in Hargeisa, but serves all regions in Somaliland. 

The hotline call center has enhanced the medical and legal response provided to survivors

Operators at the hotline call center assisting GBV survivors, 19 October, 2021. Photo by UNFPA

Since the hotline call center was established, over 120 survivors have received assistance and support through its services, including counselling and referrals, oftentimes in life-threatening circumstances. Given the severity of some of the calls, the hotline call center has enhanced the medical and legal response provided to survivors. 

Continuous efforts are made to increase community-awareness around the existence of the hotline call center, including through announcements on local radio stations.  

UNFPA is one of the UN's lead agencies working to further gender equality and women’s empowerment, and to address the physical and emotional consequences of GBV.