The Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence comprises Irish human rights, humanitarian and development organisations, Irish Aid and the Defence Forces, all working together to address gender based violence (GBV). The Consortium was established in 2004 / 2005 in response to reports of high levels of GBV in the conflict in Darfur in Sudan. The overall aim of the Consortium is to promote the adoption of a coherent and coordinated response to GBV. Mary Robinson has served as Special Advisor to the Consortium since it was established.
Initially, nine organisations were involved in the Consortium. This has since grown and it now has 16 members: Action Aid Ireland, Amnesty International Ireland, ChildFund Ireland, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, the Defence Forces, DTalk, GOAL, the Irish Red Cross, Irish Aid, Kimmage Open and Distance Education, Oxfam Ireland, Plan Ireland, Self Help Africa, Trócaire and World Vision Ireland.
DHR Communications has worked with the Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence since its launch event in 2005. Our primary work for the Consortium has included the delivery of project management, media relations, public relations and copy-writing services. We have also provided support for a number of high-profile events, including the launch of ‘Broken Bodies – Broken Dreams’, a photographic exhibition held in March 2006; annual reviews of the Initiative, addressed by Mary Robinson, in Iveagh House (the Department of Foreign Affairs); an event featuring broadcaster Claire Byrne, then Minister of State Conor Lenihan TD, and Professor Charlotte Watts (a global expert on violence against women) to mark International Women’s Day in March 2007; and high-level conferences in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In November 2008, the Joint Consortium held its first major international conference in Dublin, entitled ‘Women, Peace and Conflict’. This was a one-day conference, attended by approximately 200 delegates, which explored the impact of armed conflict on women and the role of women in conflict resolution and peacekeeping. The conference was aimed at government representatives, NGOs, politicians, policymakers, human rights activists, academics, individuals and organisations with an interest in GBV, and attracted strong cross-sectoral attendance from all target groups.
DHR Communications worked with the Joint Consortium to develop the programme for this conference, which included an opening address by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD, as well as inputs from, amongst others: Madeline Rees, Head of Gender and Human Rights from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative for HIV and AIDS at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Network in Africa; Suraya Pakzad from the Voice of Women organisation in Afghanistan; Annemieke de los Santos from the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs; and Nuala O’Loan, Roving Ambassador and Special Envoy for Conflict Resolution to Timor-Leste for the Irish Government.
The format for the conference encompassed plenary sessions; panel discussions; and group work. Key outputs delivered by DHR Communications for this event included:
The conference – and all of the events managed by DHR Communications on behalf of the Joint Consortium – received widespread media coverage and succeeding in raising the profile of the Consortium and, more importantly, raising public awareness about the issue of gender based violence. Samples of media coverage arising from our work with the Consortium are available here.
Further information on the Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence is available at: www.gbv.ie.
Feedback from those involved in the ‘Women, Peace and Conflict’ conference, and in other events organised by DHR Communications on behalf of our clients, is available here.