How GFEMS and Willow International are partnering to empower survivors, build resilience in Uganda
March 25, 2021
As a part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is pleased to share the launch of our new project with Willow International. Coupled with other efforts in the portfolio, the Fund’s objective in this project is to build resiliency against exploitative recruitment among vulnerable populations in Uganda. This includes not only pre-labor migration support, training, and resources, but also rehabilitation and reintegration services for survivors, reducing their risk of re-trafficking.
Ethical recruitment is a key focus of the Fund’s efforts. Working within our intervention framework, we target reduction in supply of vulnerable individuals, demand for cheap goods and services, and the enabling environment that allows modern slavery to persist and traffickers to operate with impunity. This project specifically targets reduction of the supply of vulnerable individuals.
The project will expand a range of pre-migration and survivor services, including holistic survivor care services, legal support, and educational, vocational, and economic training and opportunities for survivors and at-risk individuals. These services aim to empower workers with the skills and resources they need to recognize risky employment situations and create sustainable livelihoods within their communities and families.
Willow’s trauma-informed survivor care program is a multi-faceted rehabilitation program helping survivors heal from trauma, be free from re-victimization, reconcile with family, and eventually reintegrate into the community. Willow will work with survivors to provide the tools and support necessary to learn a vocation, start a business, or pursue education to re-enter society as fully engaged
productive members. The survivor-led approach reintegrates survivors and at-risk individuals into the economic fabric of Uganda by providing a choice of alternative livelihood pathways, including connection to jobs in growth sectors.
Rehabilitation and reintegration for survivors is critical to sustainable success of anti-slavery interventions. It can have a ripple effect throughout the community – ending interlocking cycles of abuse, poverty, and exploitation.
GFEMS incorporates rigorous research and evaluation agendas into all of its programs. In our partnership with Willow in Uganda, we will:
- Measure the effectiveness of aftercare services in meeting the needs of survivors,
- Evaluate the impact of training and education on survivor participation in the economy and how the provided services decrease victims’ vulnerabilities to re-trafficking,
- Assess how Willow International’s Community-Based Care Program differs from traditional shelter-based models and how this affects the reintegration process for forced labor victims.
GFEMS looks forward to providing updates on this project and sharing our learnings with the anti-trafficking community. For updates on this project and others like it, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
This article and the Willow International project were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.