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SAMEN: A Migrant-Centric Approach to Addressing Gender-Based Violence

SAMEN LOGOSAMEN (‘Together’ in Dutch) aims to bridge the gap between migration and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Netherlands. The International Organization for Migration and Dokters van de Wereld work together to prevent and combat all levels of sexual and gender-based violence and domestic violence experienced by migrant communities in the Netherlands. The SAMEN project was launched in September 2022 with the goal of providing psychosocial counselling, training, information exchange, referral and preventative measures that address violence toward adults with migrant backgrounds, especially vulnerable groups such as women, young adults and members of the LGBTQI+ community.

The knowledge and resources that International Organization for Migration and Dokters van de Wereld have gathered since 2018 via the previous projects PROTECT and REACH OUT, showed that there is insufficient awareness about the link between migration and SGBV, although migrants are more vulnerable to experiencing such violence before, during and after their journey. This knowledge will be applied to the SAMEN project and will be further built upon. SAMEN promotes cultural sensitivity in the healthcare sector and sharing knowledge to address this issue. 

More specifically, the following activities are implemented under the SAMEN project: 

  1. Training cultural mediators who get connected to victims of SGBV with a migrant background and Dutch healthcare professionals. Cultural mediators have a migrant background and affinity with the topic and sector. Through a series of training sessions, they learn to bridge the gap between victims and healthcare providers. In this way, they contribute to a migrant-inclusive approach to healthcare for victims of SGBV. 
  2. Providing psychosocial support to victims with a migrant background. This group of people does not always find their way through the Dutch healthcare system, while experiences with SGBV have severe consequences on their health and socioeconomic integration in the Netherlands. Dokters van de Wereld welcomes these victims for support in their mother tongue. 
  3. Training healthcare providers to build the capacity of the Dutch healthcare sector. These sessions highlight the importance of cultural sensitivity and explain METS: “Method for the Empowerment of Trauma Survivors”. METS offers victims future perspectives and a sense of agency and control. 
  4. Exchanging knowledge between stakeholders in the Netherlands. Little is known about migrants in the Netherlands who have experienced SGBV, while (local) governments, NGOs, Foundations, and other organizations undertake many activities to combat SGBV. The SAMEN project allows us to organize meetings for organizations on all levels, from governments to local implementing organizations, to encourage knowledge exchange. 

To increase project activities' relevance and cultural sensitivity, the SAMEN project works with a team of Migrant Ambassadors – skilled individuals with migrant backgrounds. Migrant Ambassadors provide a two-way bridging function between the project team and our intended beneficiaries. In addition to supporting migrant communities, Migrant Ambassadors apply skills toward project activities that seek to inform Dutch service providers, so that support for survivors of violence is tailored and meaningful toward those with migrant backgrounds.  

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The SAMEN project

Duration  24 months, 01/09/2022 until 31/08/2024
Project partners IOM and Dokters van de Wereld
Locations Arnhem, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Nijmegen, Utrecht and Rotterdam
Aim 500 adults with a migration background will get access to psychosocial support
Funded By European Commission, Ministry OCW and Municipality Rotterdam
Contactpersonen Sanne van ’t Hullenaar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Petra Wisse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Download the SAMEN flyer here