November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, is an exceptional commemoration this year, imprinted with high numbers and indicators of all forms of violence, due to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on women, especially during the lockdown period.
‘kolona maak” (We are all with you), from listening to supporting all kinds of vulnerability, is the only platform of its kind gathering services in one place whether it’s by catering to assaulted or battered women or by attending the requests of support, guidance, or advice regarding income-generating projects available locally and regionally.
“The aim of the platform was to answer the expectations of women, especially those who were abused, but also to answer the expectations of young people,” said Youssef Ghrady, Executive Director of the National Union of Moroccan Women. “The platform was born with a holistic approach in which we adopted all dimensions in order to answer nationally asked questions … and operate with the logic of legal protection, security and the logic of health protection, in addition to its work with the logic of training, economic rehabilitation, and training ..”
With the challenge imposed by the lockdown, especially when abused women couldn’t find refuge in other initiatives with closed services, the demand for the platform has increased. “We have reached a point where it started to weigh down both in terms of communications management, and also the rhythm and method of operation,” Mr. Ghrady explained, “the first thing we did was to convert the listening centers of the Union, into remote listening centers, so we had to use new technologies to keep up with the new pace, by training the workers in intensive communications management, new techniques to work in the quarantine and how to manage this difficult period from the psychological point of view, the training was with multiple experts and with UN Women in Morocco. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of this stage, which was one of the most difficult ones. Working daily for 24 hours is not easy.”
Not only does the platform cater to violence-related calls, but it also ensures support from the economic aspect, for women in vulnerable situations. “Vulnerability has manifestations and consequences that deepen the problems, and we have tried not to operate from a one-dimensional method by tackling the field of violence only, but rather we sought to integrate a set of approaches, in order to offer the women who seek the platform, instant solution for violence and then support to overcome it, by being economically empowered, to move from an experience of abuse to a life of opportunities, a space for hope and a better positive outcome,” he concluded.
“Kolona maak” platform provides listening, support, and guidance services to women and girls in vulnerable situations. It is open 24/24 hours, seven days a week, through a direct phone line (8350), as well as through a free app on android and IOS.