Support for and Empowerment of Vulnerable Women in High Risk Environments


Gender-based violence (GBV) has been a chronic problem in Haiti for a number of years.  Estimates indicate that approximately 35,000 women and girls have been victims of sexual assault and violence since 2004.  Anecdotal evidence also suggested an increase in GBV immediately following the January 2010 earthquake, as displaced women became more vulnerable residing in displacement camps.  Gender inequality, poverty, economic vulnerability, and cultural factors such as lack of education continue to place women and girls at heightened risk of sexual assault.  


USAID’s Support for Empowerment of Vulnerable Women in High Risk Environments project aims to strengthen and expand GBV programs at GHESKIO and two other affiliated sites in order to empower vulnerable women and reduce reliance on risky sex for economic survival.  The project will utilize data gathered to improve and/or develop culturally-specific interventions for vulnerable women in high-risk environments. 

Through the life of the project, USAID is targeting 60 vulnerable women per year with educational and employment opportunities as well as providing services, including health care, psychosocial support, and sensitization training, for 450 staff and more than 37,000 vulnerable individuals.  


USAID is supporting GHESKIO to expand and reinforce programs that empower women through training and employment opportunities.

  • Strengthen and expand GBV programs at GHESKIO and at affiliated sites (Les Cayes and Saint Marc): GHESKIO is planning, implementing, and evaluating a series of training activities and materials designed to help individuals change cultural beliefs and norms in regards to GBV.
  • Improve our understanding of potential barriers to empowerment of vulnerable women and girls in Haiti: GHESKIO is conducting in-depth interviews and surveys with groups of vulnerable women to learn more about factors that put women at risk for GBV and how to design culturally adapted interventions to prevent GBV in Haiti.  
  • Plan, develop, and implement vocational training opportunities to empower vulnerable women: GHESKIO is offering educational and employment opportunities to a sample of vulnerable women.  


As of June 2013, through this USAID- supported project, GHESKIO has:

  • Sensitized and surveyed over 114,951 people on GBV, including 387 staff, 87,617 patients, and 26,947 people at the community-level who are living in high risk areas;
  • Provided 75 victims of GBV with psychological support, including 60 commercial sex workers (CSWs), 14 victims of domestic violence, and  one victim of sexual violence  (The HIV prevalence among CSWs at GHESKIO is 11.8%.);
  • Referred 2,308 victims of GBV to voluntary counseling and testing for HIV services, reproductive health, and/or psychological support services;
  • Provided vocational training to a number of vulnerable women: 76 attended a culinary and pastry school; 67 attended a cosmetology school; and 11 attended a child care school;
  • Referred 46 women to ACME to receive micro-credit loans; and  
  • Referred 29 women to Kay Fanm for legal assistance.


Last updated: October 25, 2013

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