Mauritius: MOU Signed to Operationalise the Observatory for Gender-Based Violence

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the running and operationalisation of the Observatory for Gender-Based Violence (GBV), was signed, today, between the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, at Sicom Tower, in Ebène.

The Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, as well as representatives from the MRIC were present.

In his address, Minister Balgobin recalled that the MRIC has secured funding during this financial year to the tune of Rs 13.8 million under the National Resilience Fund in order to set up and operate the GBV Observatory for the next two years.

He highlighted that the occurrence of GBV is an unacceptable feature of the society adding it is unfortunately not showing signs of subsiding in spite of a wide range of policies, measures, legal and institutional support initiatives. Over and above the human and social costs of GBV, it is estimated that aggregated economic costs to the State are around Rs 2 billion per year, he indicated.

Speaking about the need for effective policies and decisions which come from the scientific analysis of relevant data, Minister Balgobin underlined the need to improve the data collection system on GBV and monitor its trends in order to extend our understanding of this phenomenon locally and to examine and assess the effectiveness of measures to combat this public scourge. Such rigorous and scientific data is undoubtedly central if we want to make strides toward meeting survivors’ multidimensional needs, empowering women and children in particular, and eliminating their vulnerability to exploitation, abuse and humiliation. This is in line with the vision of Government whose top priorities is the elimination of any form of gender-based violence, he stated.

He also dwelt on the importance of innovation, in particular social innovation, and digitalisation in the implementation of the GBV Observatory. He underlined that the MRIC, in line with multiple international institutions and development partners including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission, and the United Nations Development Programme, is adopting an expansive definition of innovation and looking into ways to address enduring social problems such as GBV using novel approaches and novel partnerships.

Furthermore, he stated that the GBV Observatory will also lay emphasis on digitalisation. It seeks to harness digital technology to enhance the process of data collection for a more standardised and reliable data set which is neither cumbersome for the victim to report officially nor for data entry operators to feed into the system, he said. The intention, he pointed out, is to develop a GBV Observatory dashboard which can give regular, up-to-date information on trends in GBV while allowing for deeper and more sophisticated analyses than presently possible.